Jaipur: As the Congress closes doors and opens windows for its rebel leader Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, the BJP has decided to wait it out. Given that Pilot doesn’t have the numerical support to bring down the Gehlot government, the BJP has cancelled all its planned meetings to decide on the future course of action as it wants the Gehlot and Pilot camps to end their tussle first.
Top sources in the BJP told ThePrint that even as the party is keeping an eye on the current political developments, it is clear that 19 MLAs would not suffice even if they were to switch over to the BJP.
“There is nothing for us right now in all this. Everyday, both the camps make contradicting statements so we have no idea what exactly they want to do,” said a senior BJP leader. “We will wait for both of the camps to end their tussle first and only then we will take up this issue for discussion within the party.”
An informal meeting took place in the BJP state headquarters in Jaipur that was attended by Leader of Opposition Gulabchand Kataria, party state president Satish Poonia, and party leader Rajendra Rathore among others.
“It was an informal meeting, and we discussed the scenario. It was felt that we should not make any move such as asking for a floor test as we don’t have the numbers and even if we get the support of 19, it will not help much,” said another leader. “So they should resolve their family issue first and only then we will decide on what is to be done.”
A third BJP leader pointed out that they had set their eyes on Pilot’s press conference but that too did not take place. The leaders are now waiting for 17 July, the deadline that the Speaker has set for the rebel MLAs to respond to the notices served on them.
“The notices are definitely illegal and have no legal sanctity. We are waiting to see what the Speaker will do tomorrow, but even if he decides to disqualify the rebel MLAs, they can definitely get relief from the court,” said the third leader.
Sources had said earlier that the state unit had asked senior BJP leader Vasundhara Raje to come to Jaipur for discussions but even that has been put on hold. Raje is currently in her constituency, Jhalrapatan.
“We spoke to Vasundharaji and she told us that she’s busy with some personal work and if there is a need she will come,” added another leader. “Considering nothing significant has happened so far, we have told her not to come for now.”
BJP keeping an eye on crisis
Though they are not making any moves, the state BJP leaders said, the party is keeping an eye on both the Gehlot and Pilot camps.
“Yesterday, there were reports that out of the 19 rebel MLAs a few now want to return to Jaipur,” said a state BJP functionary. “If that happens, the number will go down further. We don’t want to create any embarrassing situation for the party and have decided to just wait and watch.”
However, one of the BJP leaders quoted above said they are keeping an eye on Pilot and if he is able to persuade some of the MLAs from the Gehlot camp to switch sides then the BJP would think of demanding a floor test.
“So far we know there are 19, which is not enough as we have only 72 MLAs and three of the RLP,” said the leader. “But if Pilot is able to get others to switch sides, we can then think of a possibility of raising the demand for a floor test and provide outside support to Pilot. But it is still too premature to think in that direction.”
Another major issue that the BJP faces in Rajasthan is factionalism within the party. Right from Vasundhara Raje, Jodhpur MP and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, state party president Satish Poonia and leader of opposition Gulab Chand Kataria, key party leaders, the sources claimed, may not be “too comfortable” with Pilot being the CM if such a situation arises.
In the assembly of 200 seats, the Congress has 107 MLAs. The party also has the support of 11 independent MLAs. Apart from this, two tribal MLAs and one RJD MLA are also supporting the Congress, while two CPI(M) MLAs are providing outside support to the Gehlot-led camp. BJP has 72 MLAs, and also has the support of three RLP legislators.