Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot (R) and Sachin Pilot (C) with K.C. Venugopal  after assuming power in Rajasthan
Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot (R) and Sachin Pilot (C) with K.C. Venugopal after assuming power in Rajasthan
PTI file phoeo

The Rajasthan Congress held a press conference early Monday at 2.30 am.

Addressing the media, Congress General Secretary Avinash Pande said that 109 MLAs have given support to Congress and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, after there were rumours that Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot did not attend an all-party meeting conducted by the state on Sunday.

“Many of the MLAs have assured Gehlot over the phone; they will issue letters on Monday morning,” Pande said.

The MLAs have been issued a whip to attend a state Congress meeting at 10 am. Those who do not attend will face disciplinary action. This includes Pilot, Pande added.

On Sunday, there were rumours that Pilot was in talks with the BJP. Pilot on Sunday said he would not be attending Congress Legislative Party meeting scheduled to be held tomorrow.

Earlier on Sunday Gehlot conducted a meeting with his partymen as an exercise to gauge the numbers that are with Gehlot. The Congress Legislative Party meeting is also scheduled to be held on Monday at 10.30 am at the chief minister’s residence.

At Gehlot’s residence, three Pilot loyalists -- Prashant Bairwa, Chetan Dudi and Danish Abrar -- held a press conference and expressed faith in the chief minister's leadership. They also said that they would be with the Congress as long as they lived. The three were believed to be in Delhi with Pilot. The three said that they had been to Delhi on some personal work and there was no lock up of legislators in Delhi.

The rear-guard action by the leadership came even as the second act of the drama was being enacted with Pilot camping in the national Capital with over a dozen of his supporters, constraining senior leader Kapil Sibal to wonder whether the party would bolt the stable after all horses have fled?

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