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Rajasthan Political Crisis Highlights: SOG Team Arrives at Gurugram Resort as Hunt Continues for Missing MLAs Amid Accusations of 'Horse-trading'

The special police team at Hotel ITC Grand in Manesar.

The special police team at Hotel ITC Grand in Manesar.

Rajasthan Political Crisis Highlights: Addressing a press conference on the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, Congress leader Ajay Maken demanded the resignation or removal of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The party has alleged that Shekhawat and a slew of other people including a Sanjay Jain, ex-Congress MLAs Bhanwar Lal Sharma among others were involved in the horse-trading of MLAs, releasing purported audio clips as proof of the matter.

Rajasthan Political Crisis Highlights: Addressing a press conference on the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, Congress leader Ajay Maken demanded the resignation or removal of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The party has alleged that Shekhawat and a slew of other people including a Sanjay Jain, ex-Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma were involved in the horse-trading of MLAs, releasing purported audio clips as proof of the matter.

"We have heard the tapes, the people in the tape have heard the tapes. Why is Gajendra Shekhwat not resigning? His audio is on the tape," he said, adding that if they were not guilty, they should actively help the investigation and give their voice samples.

Speaking about BJP's demand for a CBI inquiry into "phone tapping by Congress party", Maken said that there was no point of threatening the party through CBI, and it was clear that by doing so, BJP was trying to protect many loose ends, i.e. other powerful people involved in the current power tussle.

The state's opposition leader Gulab Chand Kataria, said today that the Bharatiya Janata Party had never demanded a floor test, and did not even currently. "We are watching their fight. When the time is right and we have to do something, we will discuss and move in that direction. As of now, we are being unnecessarily dragged into this matter," he said.

Meanwhile, Congress stalwart Kapil Sibal today took a swipe at the BJP-led Central Government amid the political crisis in Rajasthan, saying that a vaccine was needed against a "Wuhan-like facility in Delhi" spreading the virus of "toppling governments."

While the origins of the coronavirus pandemic still remain clear, it is widely believed and has been reported that it began at a scientific facility in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Sibal drew a parellel between the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the previous change in political regimes instigated by the saffron party in states such as Madhya Pradesh, often dubbed as "Operation Kamal".

The whereabouts of the MLAs supporting former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot remain unclear, even as the dissident leader on Saturday appealed to all Indians to join the efforts in helping support those affected due to the floods in Assam and Bihar.

Pilot's appeal comes amid the raging political firestorm in Rajasthan where he declared open rebellion against the Ashok Gehlot government. Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the state Congress chief earlier this week.

Here are the Latest Updates on Rajasthan's Political Crisis:

✦ "Sanjay Jain (arrested by SOG, Rajasthan Police) had come to me eight months back. He had asked me to meet Vasundhara ji and others. There are other agents like him but they didn't succeed in their attempts. Sanjay Jain had been active for a long time," said Congress MLA Rajendra Guda.

✦ Elected representatives should be barred from holding public office for five years and from contesting the next election if they defect, senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said on Saturday. Sibal, who was addressing a webinar, said that the "endemic" of defection is due to human greed and hunger for power.

"No law can prevent it (defection). The only solution is that if anyone defects they shall not hold public office for five years and cannot contest in the next election. These are the two elements that need to change," Sibal said in response to a question on the political crisis in Rajasthan.

✦ Meanwhile, MLAs supporting CM Ashok Gehlot's leadership in Rajasthan watched the Aamir Khan-starrer movie ‘Lagaan’ at Hotel Fairmont Jaipur.

✦ Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday met Governor Kalraj Mishra at Raj Bhavan in Jaipur shortly after two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) handed over their letter of support to him.

BTP legislators Rajkumar Roat and Ramprasad asserted that their party's president and other leaders have agreed on extending support to the Gehlot government on the condition that demands related to development of the state are fulfilled.

✦ A team of Rajasthan Police officials who entered one of the two resorts in Manesar, Haryana, where 18 dissident Congress MLAs are lodged with Sachin Pilot, returned empty-handed on Friday after finding no rebel legislators there, said sources.

Led by IPS Vikas Sharma, the SOG team was initially stopped by Haryana police but later allowed. The team had gone to record the voice sample of MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma, while also possessing a warrant against him. The Special Operations Group (SOG) team went as part of its investigation into two audio clips which allegedly indicate a plot to bring down the Congress government in Rajasthan. However, no rebel MLAs could be found there and the SOG has claimed that Haryana Police did not cooperate fully.

✦ Pilot has the support of 18 MLAs. There was little news of the Pilot camp. While the former PCC chief has been silent, there was little information on his whereabouts and those of the MLAs who mounted the rebellion with him.

They had been in a resort in Haryana till Friday evening when the Rajasthan special operations group reached for their voice samples but could not meet them. Some Congress leaders alleged that they had been taken to another BJP-ruled state but no one was sure.