Rajasthan: BJP wants CBI probe into tapes leaked by Congress
In what marked BJP's full-blown entry into the raging political crisis in Rajasthan, the party on Saturday held a press conference demanding a CBI probe to know if phones of leaders were being tapped. This development came a day after Congress released audio-tapes to show BJP intended to topple Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's government. Two FIRs have been registered as well. Here's what happened.
Context: Gehlot v/s Pilot sparked existential crisis for Congress government
Rajasthan, where Congress came to power in December 2018, catapulted to headlines after Gehlot's deputy, Sachin Pilot, turned rebellious. The former chief of Congress' state unit was furious after being summoned for interrogation into a case pertaining to attempts to bring down Gehlot's government. Leaving Rajasthan with his loyalists, he camped in Manesar, Haryana, rejected Congress' overtures and was eventually sacked from two posts.
"Still with Congress," announced Pilot, but dragged party to court
Despite being removed from envious positions, Pilot claimed he was still with Congress and won't jump ships to BJP. However, he dragged his party to court against the disqualification notices served to nearly 20 MLAs by Speaker CP Joshi. Yesterday, Congress claimed Pilot's team was working with Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to oust Gehlot's government. It also suspended two of its leaders.
During press meet, BJP drew attention to phone tapping
While Shekhawat distanced himself from the horse-trading allegations, BJP, today, tried to corner Congress. "Is phone tapping not a legal issue? Were the standard procedures laid down followed for phone tapping?" spokesperson Sambit Patra asked, demanding Gehlot to disclose if state machinery was being misused. Saying BJP's morality is "crystal clear," Patra demanded a CBI probe. The same questions were also asked on Twitter.
"People of Rajasthan want to know whether privacy was compromised"
4. Did the Congress govt in Rajasthan use unconstitutional ways to save themselves when they found themselves cornered?— BJP (@BJP4India) July 18, 2020
5. Is phone of any person who is related to politics is being tapped?
Responding to BJP, Congress asked why Pilot "chose" Haryana
Thereafter, Congress also addressed media claiming that BJP misused machinery to stop an investigation. Spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "The track record of BJP in Rajasthan, Haryana convinces us that we cannot allow BJP to kidnap our MLAs and let them create a crisis in the state." "What is the reason behind Sachin Pilot trusting Haryana more than Rajasthan," he asked.
Rajasthan Police didn't get "support" from Haryana Police during raid
Interestingly, yesterday when cops from Rajasthan arrived at two fancy hotels in Manesar, to look for MLAs accused of horse-trading, they faced resistance from their own counterparts of Haryana. An NDTV report said today they weren't able to find any rebel MLAs there.
After BJP's presser, Mayawati suggested President's Rule in Rajasthan
Meanwhile, BSP Chief Mayawati also waded into the phone-tapping controversy, suggesting President's Rule in the state. She said Gehlot's government was a "serial offender." "Rajasthan Chief Minister first violated the anti-defection law and betrayed the BSP by admitting its MLAs into the Congress. And now he apparently made another illegal decision by tapping phones," the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh tweeted.
Separately, Priyanka's team claimed Pilot wanted nothing less than CM-post
While BJP, Congress, and even BSP are getting their hands dirty in the crisis, reports said Pilot isn't ready to settle for anything less than a CM post. People close to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra told NDTV he demanded to be given the CM post within a year. This revelation came after Pilot's camp alleged he was sacked soon after talking with Priyanka.