Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been briefed about the situation, sources said. “We are confident we won’t allow a Madhya Pradesh situation to take place again,” a senior leader in the party said.
New Delhi: The Congress appears deep in crisis in Rajasthan just three months after it lost Madhya Pradesh to the BJP as Jyotiraditya Scindia switched sides with 23 loyalist MLAs. Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot once a contender for the state’s top post — is in Delhi with some of his loyalist MLAs. Sources said he may talk to the party leadership to resolve the crisis. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been briefed about the situation. “Sonia Gandhi will take a call on the matter and all must work together whatever the differences,” a party insider said. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said yesterday that the BJP is trying to grab power in the state by bribing MLAs the way they did in Madhya Pradesh. The Anti-Corruption Branch is questioning three Independent MLAs who allegedly made offers of money, sources said.
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Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said yesterday that the BJP, the main opposition in the state, was offering MLAs up to Rs 15 crore or “favours” to switch allegiances and help topple his government.
Rajasthan Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, who has filed a complaint with the Special Operations Group and the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Rajasthan Police.
“We keep hearing talk of money being offered to MLAs to switch sides. Some have been promised up to Rs 15 crore and some have been assured of other favours. What they first did covertly, they now do overtly. You saw this in Goa, Madhya Pradesh and the north-eastern states,” Mr Gehlot said.
“We are confident we won’t allow a Madhya Pradesh situation to take place again,” a senior leader in the party told NDTV today. “An attempt is being made to break our government. A lot of money is being given and promised by the Centre and the BJP,” sources said.
Sachin Pilot – a contender for the Chief Minister’s post after the Congress victory in Rajasthan in 2018 — was given the post of the Deputy Chief Minister and the state Congress chief.
The top leadership’s recognition of Mr Pilot’s work in rebuilding the party in the state after its decimation at the hands of the BJP and the reward of heading the state party unit has continued to irk Mr Gehlot.
The differences between Mr Pilot and the Chief Minister have been surfacing regularly. Last year, after the Lok Sbaha elections, Mr Gehlot blamed Mr Pilot for his son’s defeat. “Pilot should take responsibility,” the Chief Minister had said.
The Congress holds 107 seats in the 200-strong Rajasthan Assembly and has support from 12 independent candidates. In addition, five MLAS from other parties — the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the CPM and the Bharatiya Tribal Party – support Mr Gehlot.
Ahead of last month’s Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress, unsettled by events in Madhya Pradesh and faced with similar events in Gujarat, moved its MLAs to a resort. At the time, Mr Gehlot had told NDTV he had heard “reports that the BJP is willing to spend up to 25 to 30 crore per MLA”.
The Kamal Nath government had collapsed in March after Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP with 22 MLAs after a long drawn power tussle between the party’s old guard and the new.