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Does Gehlot Govt Have Numbers to Tide Through Crisis Triggered by Pilot? A Look at the Rajasthan Assembly

File photo of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot with former deputy CM Sachin Pilot.

File photo of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot with former deputy CM Sachin Pilot.

The Rajasthan High Court has barred the Assembly Speaker to take any action on rebel MLAs till Tuesday evening after they filed a petition against their suspension by the Congress party.

Months after Jyotiraditya Scindia quit Congress and toppled the Kamal Nath-led government in Madhya Pradesh, a similar political crisis gripped Rajasthan earlier this month. The state government plunged into crisis after a faction MLAs led by now-sacked Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot claimed the support of 30 MLAs and said that the Ashok Gehlot government is in minority.

Now, the Rajasthan High Court has barred the Assembly Speaker to take any action on rebel MLAs till Tuesday evening after they filed a petition against their suspension by the Congress party. An assembly session could be called on Wednesday for a floor test to seal the fate of the Congress government in Rajasthan, said sources.

With another Congress government on the verge of a potential collapse, here’s how the numbers look like in the assembly at present.

Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-member assembly which includes six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators who had jumped ship to join the ruling party. However, at least 19 MLAs, including Sachin Pilot, have rebelled and were issued disqualification notices by the party. Two of these MLAs have been suspended.

As a result, Congress now effectively has the support of 88 MLAs in the house. Add to this, the support of 2 MLAs each of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), one legislator of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, and 10 Independent, the Gehlot government is support by at least 103 MLAs in the house.

Meanwhile, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 72 members in the house and has the support of three Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MLAs and three Independent MLAs taking its total to 78 – still short of the majority mark of 101 seats.

If the Congress decides to issue a binding whip to its MLAs, all the rebel MLAs (except the suspended ones) will have to turn up for the floor test. And if the rebels do not up for the vote, the strength of the house would come down and the majority-mark would also subsequently shrink to 92.

However, the Congress government would still remain in the majority in such a situation.

If they come and vote against the government, Congress will need atleast 101 MLAs to vote in support of the trust vote to save the government. But in both scenarios- abstaining and voting against the Pilot group would violate the whip of the party inviting petition for their disqualification.