Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Photo by FPJ Correspondent

Political drama in Rajasthan continues unabated as the Special Operation Group (SOG) has registered FIR against three independent MLAs for allegedly trying to break off Congress MLAS. The three independent MLAs had extended support to Congress last year. Reacting to the development Congress has dissociated itself from the three by removing their names from the list of its associated members.

Meanwhile there are reports that Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot is camping in Delhi with over a dozen of his supporters. It is believed that the PCC chief would meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former president Rahul Gandhi to appraise them of the situation in Rajasthan. According to sources from Congress, the move is to consolidate Pilot’s position as PCC chief and ensure adequate representation of his supporters in the impending cabinet expansion.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot called a meeting of ministers and MLAs at his residence on late Saturday night. The ministers who were out of Jaipur were not present in the meeting, that was called at short notice. Sources say that ministers and legislators expressed faith in Gehlot’s leadership. It is also believed that the ones who are divisional incharges were told to keep close watch on the developments in their areas.

The three independent MLAs against whom SOG has registered FIR are Omprakash Hudla, Suresh Tak and Khushveer Singh. According to the SOG report, the three were reportedly in the Southern Rajasthan districts of Banswara Dungarpur where they had met tribal Congress MLAs and had allegedly offered them money to topple the Congress government. Congress went on to remove the names of the three from its list of associated members. Reacting to this Suresh Tak told the media, “I am shocked and saddened by the development. I had extended unconditional support to Ashok Gehlot government. I did travel to Banswara Dungarpur and met MLAs at a personal level. I will meet the chief minister and clear my situation.”

In another development interstate borders of Rajasthan have been sealed once again. The order issued by the Home Department cites rise in COVID-19 cases as reason for this. Persons travelling in or out of Rajasthan will be required to have passes issued by competent administrative authority. This is the second time such orders have been issued. The last time this was done was prior to the Rajya Sabha elections when there the issue of horse trading and attempts to topple the government first came up. It was then that chief whip Mahesh Joshi had given a complaint in this regard to SOG.

While most political observers believe that the political drama unfolding in the desert state is more related to the internal power struggle within the Congress. They also feel that it gives the BJP an opportune window to makes deeper dents. Numbers suggest that toppling the government in Rajasthan would not be as easy as Madhya Pradesh but it cannot be denied that the aggressive stand adopted by Gehlot, along with complaints, FIRs and subsequent arrests by SOG has put the saffron party in a defensive mode.

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