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    Ashok Gehlot rallies 107 MLAs; Congress asks Sachin Pilot to agree to a peace pact

    Synopsis

    After 13 Congress MLAs, including Pilot and two ministers, and four Independents stayed away from the meeting, the Congress leadership initiated a carrot-and-stick strategy, asking Pilot to agree to a peace pact while still threatening him and his supporters with disciplinary actions.

    Ashok Gehlot (File Pic)
    NEW DELHI: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday produced 107 Congress and supporting MLAs at a meeting to “prove his majority”. With this, Sachin Pilot’s claims that he had the support of 30 MLAs and that the Gehlot government was in a minority fell flat.

    After 13 Congress MLAs, including Pilot and two ministers, and four Independents stayed away from the meeting, the Congress leadership initiated a carrot-and-stick strategy, asking Pilot to agree to a peace pact while still threatening him and his supporters with disciplinary actions. The offer includes an AICC posting for Pilot in Delhi, Congress campers claimed.

    Sources indicated Gehlot was likely to opt for a trust vote in the assembly soon. The party has also started backchannel talks to lure away a section of Pilot’s backers. The CM has called another meeting on Tuesday, with an invitation to Pilot to ‘return home’.

    Sources said after Pilot was checkmated by Gehlot in the numbers game, Congress was trying to secure support of more MLAs. The message to Pilot is that if he doesn’t have enough MLAs to topple the Gehlot government or get a lucrative offer from BJP, he should opt for a face-saver deal. “If Ajit Pawar can return to NCP after the failed gamble, why cannot Pilotji return to Congress,” asked a party leader. The flip side is that the Congress has a tradition of “encircling” those who wave the white flag.

    While the CLP resolution reflected the MLAs’ demand for stern action against those who “collaborated with BJP”, Congress is also working on a section of MLAs who stayed away from the meet to try and delink them from Pilot with offers of ministerial berths and other positions or face the prospect of being disqualified from the assembly for “anti-party activities” and violating the whip. The backup plan is to disqualify the entire or a few rebels and bring down the half-way mark in the assembly to around 90.

    Unable to secure enough MLAs, the Pilot camp, a source said, adopted a ‘blow hot, blow cold’ tactic from its operation venue in Delhi. While clarifying that Pilot ‘wasn’t joining’ BJP, his camp rejected Gehlot-led Congress’ claim of majority as ‘fake’. It also claimed invisible friends in the Gehlot camp and questioned the validity of holding a CLP meet at CM’s ‘backyard’. The CM should have taken MLAs to Raj Bhavan, not to a resort, and he should face a floor test, the Pilot camp said.

    BJP, too, played the same tune. Yet, neither the Pilot camp nor BJP spoke about moving a no-confidence motion against the Gehlot regime.

    The Pilot camp also claimed the representatives of the Congress high command had reached out to its leader (after the CLP meeting) and “nostalgically reminded him” about Rahul Gandhi's “warm relationship” with him and requested him to “return home”. After several reports claimed that Congress’ bigwigs — Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad...etc — had approached Pilot with a patch-up offer, the Pilot camp clarified that “he is not in talks with the Gandhis or AICC brass” and that he remained “adamant and determined”.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    2 Comments on this Story

    nikhil mahajan22 days ago
    Ashok ghelot is typical congress politician. who believes in 1990's politics. he will stay CM or hold some or the other position until he dies. congress must realize that these old or aged politicians are the reason of party failure. listen to ashok ghelots speech, he tends to forget so many words that someone from behind has to point it out.!
    Mohamed Shabib22 days ago
    Sachin pilot, leave and form your own regional party. Stop with this drama already. You are a reputed person, but don't act childish in certain circumstances where you are trying to dictate terms from outside.
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