Rajasthan: Courtesy "poaching attempts" by Congress, BJP shifts its MLAs
As a political crisis in Rajasthan rages on, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shifted 19 of its MLAs to Gujarat, where it is in power, while blaming intimidation and harassment by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's government for it. On August 11, the saffron party will hold a meeting with its MLAs. The Assembly session will begin on August 14. Here's what happened.
Context: Gehlot is scrambling to show he has the numbers
Faced with an unprecedented rebellion by his former deputy Sachin Pilot, Gehlot convinced Governor Kalraj Mishra to convene an Assembly session. In the 200-member strong Assembly, the majority mark is 101. However, if Pilot's camp, having nearly 20 MLAs, cross votes during a floor test, Gehlot might lose his chair. Therefore, Gehlot is reaching out to other parties for help.
Can Pilot really afford to vote against Gehlot?
Pilot, who rejected Congress' overtures numerous times, has lost the leverage to strike a deal with the party. If his camp now votes against Gehlot, they would immediately be up for disqualification. This would render his legal battle, which earned him a win, useless.
Shouldn't let opponent attack you: BJP's rationale behind shifting MLAs
Like Congress, BJP is also trying to keep its flock together. Gulab Chand Kataria, the leader of opposition in the Assembly, said, "There is no fear of these MLAs leaving BJP. But why give an opportunity to Congress to attack us. Wisdom lies in not allowing your opponent to launch an attack on you." He said most of the MLAs being shifted are tribals.
Gehlot government tapping phones, MLAs are stressed: BJP
According to BJP, Gehlot has been exploiting the state machinery to target MLAs from poor backgrounds. The chief of the Rajasthan BJP unit, Satish Poonia claimed that phones were also being tapped. The actions of the state government stressed the MLAs. "We came to know that some of our MLAs were approached by various people to make them defect from BJP," he stated.
Split in BJP evident, said Gehlot on MLAs being shifted
While BJP is blaming Congress for trying to distract a few MLAs from its 72-member strong team, the factionalism within the party is obvious. Commenting on the same, Gehlot said, "What is worrying BJP? They are herding their legislators to three-four places. I see a big split in them." He also said Congress doesn't endorse horse-trading and that BJP was tasting its own medicine.
Reportedly, Nadda had discussion with Raje to ensure BJP's unity
Separately, reports suggested that BJP is taking steps to avoid defection. Party President JP Nadda had asked former CM Vasundhara Raje to visit Delhi. "Raje had been staying aloof from all the political developments in Rajasthan in the last few weeks. Her meeting with central leadership was held to discuss the issues and ensure that the state unit is united," a source told ET.
BJP's MLAs will meet tomorrow, discuss future course of action
The much-publicized meeting of BJP legislators will happen at Hotel Crown Plaza, Jaipur. Kataria said if needed the MLAs will stay put for three days. "Earlier, we thought they may move confidence motion on August 16 or 17 but now we believe they will call for the motion on August 14 itself," he said. BJP also has the support of three MLAs of RLP.