Ashok Gehlot's push for floor test stumps BJP
The BJP on Friday maintained silence as party managers appeared to have been outsmarted by Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s readiness to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
The BJP managers, seeking to oust the Congress government and wrest power in Rajasthan, want the political uncertainty to drag on, hoping to get more MLAs to join the rebel Sachin Pilot group.
Pilot now has the support of only 18 Congress MLAs, which is not enough to bring down the Gehlot government.
Gehlot’s move on Friday to call an Assembly session to prove his majority on the floor of the House appeared to have caught the BJP managers unaware. Party insiders said apart from the excuse of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be very difficult for the governor to go against the decision of the government to call an Assembly session.
The BJP managers feel that given the present numbers, Gehlot would manage to prove his majority. A session of the Assembly would force the rebel MLAs to come to Jaipur and face disqualification if they defy the party whip and don’t vote for the government.
Ironically, when the Rajasthan crisis had broken, state BJP leaders had demanded that Gehlot should prove his majority. They, however, changed their line quickly and said they were not making such a demand at present.
Caught in a difficult spot, the BJP leaders chose to pick on chief minister Gehlot’s purported threat to “gherao” the governor’s house if the nod to convene an Assembly session was not granted and make a political issue out of it to attack the Congress.
“Can a responsible CM say this to the Governor of a state?” tweeted Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, quoting Gehlot’s statement “… hamari zimmedari nahi hogi” (It will not be my responsibility), if people “gherao” the Raj Bhavan.
“Gehlotji seems to forget that the chair he sits in is for governance & not for gundagardi,” Shekhawat’s added in his tweet. The central minister has been accused by the Congress of engaging in horse-trading of MLAs.
In Jaipur, leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria demanded that central paramilitary forces be deployed to protect the Raj Bhavan in view of Gehlot’s threat.
State BJP chief Satish Poonia asked whether chief minister Gehlot could force the governor to call an Assembly session. “Some matters are sub-judice. Are you (Gehlot) above the Constitution and the law?” Poonia asked.
As these state leaders spoke, former chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia remained silent. She posted pictures of her planting saplings on Twitter.
The tallest leader of the BJP in Rajasthan is believed to be against destabilising the Gehlot government. The central party, according to sources, however, is keen to overrule Vasundhara.
The BJP’s strategy to destabilise the Gehlot government hinges on a prolonged atmosphere of political unrest in the state.
Party insiders are sure that with the high court refusing to give any relief to Gehlot, the matter is likely to drag on in a legal battle, providing precious time to get more Congress MLAs and Independents to rebel to reduce the government to a minority.