Priyanka Gandhi
Priyanka Gandhi
ANI Photo

In the game of one-upmanship between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, as also Rahul Gandhi, are understood to have steered clear, refusing to entertain Pilot, after getting a report from Jaipur that Gehlot has the numbers to scrape through the crisis.

Priyanka Gandhi was instead roped in to placate Pilot and broker truce. He was advised to issue a statement expressing full confidence in the leadership of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and leave the decision about changes in Rajasthan to their good wisdom. Priyanka was also engaged in back-channel talks with Gehlot.Pilot reportedly went to 10 Janpath, where Rahul is putting up these days, and wanted to meet him but was turned away with a terse message to return to Jaipur and accept the leadership of Gehlot, or face "disciplinary action," for his attempt to destabilise the Congress government. He was told that the leadership disapproves of his tantrums.Though there were only 107 MLAs, including some independents, at the Congress Legislature Party meeting at Gehlot’s residence, AICC sources said a report received from the Central observers suggests Gehlot enjoys the support of 115 MLAs, some of whom could not attend the meeting for various reasons.

Party sources claimed there was a possibility of patch up as those close to Pilot have told Priyanka that he at least four of his supporters should be inducted as ministers; also, he should get an assurance from the chief minister that he will stop pressing for his removal as PCC chief.

One of the resolution passed at the CLP meeting has sought "strict disciplinary action against any office bearer or member of the Legislature Party who indulges in activities against the Congress government, party or gets involved in any conspiracy."

The resolution is seen as a virtual notice to Pilot by Gehlot.

The Congress has 107 MLAs on its own in the 200-member Assembly and claims to enjoy the support of 12 independents and five others belonging to smaller parties; the BJP's strength is 72 and enjoys the support of three members of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party and an independent.

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