Even as Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot openly rebelled against CM Ashok Gehlot, the former has no plans of joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sources close to the young-leader told news agency ANI. But that does not mean that trouble for Gehlot has ended.
Earlier today, a legislature party meeting of the Congress took place at CM Ashok Gehlot's residence. The media was allowed inside the CM house for a short while where Gehlot and other MLAs showed the victory sign in a show of strength. Party leaders claimed 106 legislators were present at the meeting. However, on Sunday night, Pilot claimed that he has the support of over 30 Congress MLAs and the Gehlot government is in minority. The Congress has 107 members in the state assembly and also claims the support of some independents. But the way Congress MLAs were packed into buses and rushed to Fairmont hotel speaks volumes about no imminent end to the crisis.
"Ashok Gehlot govt doesn’t have numbers they claim. CM’s back garden isn't the place to prove the majority, it’s done in Assembly. If they have numbers as claimed then why not do a headcount, take them to Guv instead of moving them to the hotel," sources close to Pilot told ANI.
Meanwhile, the Congress leadership has reached out to Gehlot, hinting that the doors are still open for Pilot. Sources said Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi were in touch with Pilot, upset since he was denied the Rajasthan chief minister's post after the December 2018 assembly elections. Before today's meeting, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala adopted a conciliatory tone, saying Pilot and other MLAs could still attend the CLP meeting from which they had distanced themselves.
Addressing a press conference before the meeting, AICC spokesperson Randeep Surjewala indicated that Pilot and his supporters were still welcome to attend it. “Doors are open for Sachin Pilot and other MLAs,” he said. Surjewala said the party’s top leadership spoke to Pilot several times in the last 72 hours. He said differences in a family can be resolved within the family, suggesting that Pilot and other MLAs should come and discuss grievances at party forums. “When a member of the family gets annoyed, he does not make the family fall but sits with family members and resolves the issue,” he said. “Doors are open for Sachin Pilot and other MLAs. They will be heard and solutions will be found. This is the discipline of the party,” the AICC spokesperson said.