With less than a week to go before the special session of the Rajasthan Assembly is scheduled to begin on August 14, all factions playing a role in the ongoing political drama in Rajasthan are now engaged in consolidating their numbers and trying to gain some extra support from rival factions.
Amid all the claims and challenges flying all around, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has written a letter to all the MLAs of the state. In the three page letter Gehlot has urged them to stand with truth and save the democratically elected government of the state.
The letter is more of a compilation of the statements that Gehlot had made over the last month regarding the sanctity of an elected government, Rajasthan’s democratic traditions, the role of Atal Behari Vajpayee and Rajiv Gandhi in effecting anti-defection reforms and his own stand when the Bhairon Singh Shekhawat government faced threat of being toppled by a rebel faction.
The letter further read, “I appeal to you all to listen to the voice of the people to save democracy and the trust and of the people and keep safe against wrong traditions. Listen to the voice of your relatives and the voters of your area to take a decision to ensure that an elected government of the state continues to work in the interest of the people so that efforts to topple the government fail.”
“I have firm belief that you will stand with truth and provide your support to help fulfil the promise of development made to the people of the state,” it concluded.
MLAs of both the Gehlot and Pilot factions of the Congress are locked up in different hotels for over the last one month and now, the BJP too has begun the same exercise. One more lot of six MLAs left for Gujarat today taking the number of MLAs being kept safe in the adjoining state to 26.
While there are reports about some BJP MLAS refusing to go to Gujarat, the party has called a legislators’ meet in Jaipur on August 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The legislators will be staying there till the assembly session begins.
Speaking to The Free Press Journal Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria said, “The Congress is in depression as they do not have a majority. Some of our MLAS told us that they have been contacted. Also we had received inputs that some tribal MLAs faced a risk of being attacked. Before such a situation develops, we needed to keep our team safe. This is why we have sent them to Gujarat.
Responding to an FPJ query about the BJP legislators meet he said, “I have spoken to all the MLAs and they will be present for the meet. I have also spoken to Vasundhara Raje, she is in Delhi. Her gardener has tested COVID-19 positive and her report is expected by late evening. She will be there.”
Regarding numbers in BJP kitty and providing support to Sachin Pilot the LOP said, “We have 75 MLAs, 72 of our own and 3 of our ally RLP. As for providing support to Pilot; neither has he asked for support not have we offered.”
Amid all these developments, the war of words continues unabated among the legislators of various factions. Ved Solanki from the Pilot faction has released a video and made several claims.
He said “The party high command had not contacted us or spoken to us. There are many in Jaisalmer who are with us. There is no third person as choice for chief minister and a meeting of MLAs would be held on August 12 to decide on further action. We have not gone to Gujarat and are put up where we were earlier. There is no plan about what is to be done on August 14.” Solanki further added that the Pilot faction is footing all its bills from hotels to lawyers.
On the other hand Rajendra Gudha challenged the BJP when it came to keeping all its MLAs safe, “I challenge the BJP state president Satish Poonia; present all 72 MLAs of your party in the Assembly on August 14. I will change my name if that happens.”