Jaipur: The Rajasthan unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is adopting a wait-and-watch policy and is not planning to pressure the Ashok Gehlot government to hold a floor test, as done by their Madhya Pradesh counterparts amid a similar churn in the central Indian state earlier this year.
Speaking to ThePrint, state BJP chief Satish Poonia said they will be happy if Congress rebel Sachin Pilot joins the party but added that the final decision rests with the central leadership.
Poonia’s comments came after the Rajasthan BJP Tuesday held a meeting aimed at chalking out a strategy and discussing the various possibilities that have emerged after Pilot’s rebellion against the Congress.
Senior BJP leader and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is expected to be in Jaipur Wednesday for another likely meeting on the rebellion that has hit the state Congress unit, which is currently in office.
State BJP chief Poonia said the Gehlot government was a minority government and claimed it will fall soon.
“We are not demanding a floor test but they have lost the confidence of the people and should step down themselves. As far as Sachin Pilot is concerned, if the central BJP will induct him in the party, we will welcome it and we will be happy if he will join. Earlier, (Jyotiraditya) Scindia ji had joined and the BJP as a party welcomes anyone,” Poonia said.
Pilot’s rebellion, with his claim that he has the support of 30 MLAs, has cast a shadow over the Gehlot government. Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and Rajasthan party chief Tuesday, but he remains a member of the Congress.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
Pilot is the second young turk of the party to mount a rebellion amid allegations that they feel sidelined in the Congress. Erstwhile Gwalior royal Jyotiraditya Scindia had rebelled against the party in March with over 20 MLAs and helped bring down the Kamal Nath government. He subsequently joined the BJP with his MLA loyalists.
According to sources in the BJP, unlike in Madhya Pradesh, where the party was quite clear of the numbers Scindia had, they are still unsure of the support Pilot enjoys.
‘In no hurry’
While Pilot might be keen to join the BJP, one of the sources said, the other MLAs in his camp may have reservations.
“There are a few MLAs who are in his camp and will lend support to him only but are not too certain of joining the BJP as they are concerned that, keeping their constituency composition in mind, switching to the BJP may not be beneficial to them,” the source added. “Things are unfolding quite fast so we are looking at all permutations and combinations.”
A central BJP leader said the party was not in a hurry and wanted to see what Pilot can bring to the party.
“It is the start and, if not today, in the coming days the government will certainly fall without our doing anything. We want it to fall on its own. At the same time, we need to see how much support and hold Pilot has on the MLAs and hence are keeping a watch,” the leader added.
A BJP functionary said the party is keeping a “close watch on all the developments and is also looking at the possibilities that have emerged in the past few days”.
“We are not immediately seeking a floor test but considering Pilot has been removed and has the support of a section of the MLAs he may ask for a floor test. So for now we are waiting,” the functionary added.
One of the members of the Sachin Pilot camp had asked for a floor test Tuesday, but the former MP has not said anything on the issue so far.
Ramesh Meena, who skipped the Congress legislative party meeting Tuesday, said a floor test will make it evident what support Gehlot enjoys.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.