Hours after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's show of strength at the CLP meet in Jaipur, sources close to his deputy Sachin Pilot on Monday countered the Gehlot government's claim of having the required numbers and said majority is proven in the Assembly, not at the CM's house. They also ruled out the possibility of Pilot joining the BJP.
Pilot, who is also the president of the Congress' Rajasthan unit, had skipped the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) at Gehlot's residence, where the MLAs expressed support for the chief minister.
The legislators were then packed in buses and taken to a resort near Jaipur.
There was no official word on the number of MLAs who attended the meeting at Gehlot's home, but party leaders claimed 106 legislators were there.
Rebutting the claim by the leaders, sources close to Pilot said the Ashok Gehlot government does not have the numbers.
The numbers are proven in the Assembly and not at the CM's house. If they have the numbers, they should take the MLAs to the governor, why take them to a hotel, the sources close to Pilot said.
A resolution adopted at the Congress Legislature Party meeting urged strong disciplinary action against any party office-bearer or CLP member who does anything to weaken the government or the party.
Before the meeting, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala adopted a conciliatory tone, saying Pilot and other MLAs could still attend the CLP meeting from which they had distanced themselves.
In the 200-member assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the BJP 72. In the past, the ruling party has claimed the support of 13 independents, two MLAs each from the CPM and the Bharatiya Tribal Party, and one from the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The Congress had rushed AICC general secretary in-charge of the state Avinash Pande, Surjewala and Ajay Maken to Jaipur as observers at the meeting.
The party had issued a whip ahead of the CLP meeting, indicating disciplinary action against any MLA who failed to turn up.
Pilot, who has been upset since he was denied the Rajasthan chief minister’s post after the December 2018 assembly elections, had on Sunday rebelled and claimed that he had the support of over 30 Congress MLAs and some independents.
The current crisis began Friday night when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government.
The same notice was sent to the chief minister and some other MLAs, but Pilot''s supporters claimed that it was only meant to humiliate him.
The notices were sent after police tapped the phone conversation of two men allegedly talking about toppling the Congress government.