Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday indicated he will seek a confidence vote when the assembly convenes next fortnight and claimed that the money offered to the MLAs to switch sides had increased sharply ahead of the session.
"The floor test will happen; we are going to the assembly. The BAC decides this," he said, referring to the assembly's business advisory committee. He said the House will also discuss the coronavirus pandemic and the state's economy after the lockdown.
Gehlot claimed the money offered to MLAs to switch sides has increased sharply after the announcement of the assembly session date, up from Rs 10 crore as the "first installment" to whatever they asked.
He also accused Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati of acting at the behest of the BJP, referring to her party's petition in the high court challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress last year.
Gehlot claimed that MLAs have been getting calls after Governor Kalraj Mishra agreed on Wednesday night to convene a session from August 14. Gehlot said the earlier "rate" was Rs 10 crore as the first installment and Rs 15 crore as the second.
"Now, it is being asked how much do you want? This means that the rate has increased. Everyone knows who is doing the horse-trading," he said outside the Fairmont hotel where the MLAs in his camp are staying.
Gehlot is trying to save his government after Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs rebelled. The Congress has accused the BJP of being behind this "conspiracy" to topple the state government.
Gehlot said the rebels should return to the party-fold.
"They won elections on Congress tickets and their first duty is to stand with the government. They don't realise what the people are thinking about them in their constituencies, and they will come to know that later," he said. "Why are they playing in the lap of BJP?"
Gehlot said Mayawati's complaint about last year's merger of six BSP MLAs with that of his party was unjustified since the entire group in the assembly switched sides. "It was not about two MLAs. All six MLAs merged, and according to their own conscience," he said.
Gehlot alleged Mayawati was giving statements at the behest of the BJP because she is afraid of the party that is misusing the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department against everyone.
The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday issued notices to the assembly Speaker, secretary and the six MLAs over the BSP's petition. Gehlot said the dissident Congress MLAs are at Manesar in Gurgaon and the Special Operations Group (SOG) team of the Rajasthan police is unable to reach them.
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"The entire country is watching this. This is the game of the BJP and people will not forgive the party," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)