New Delhi: The Congress-led government in Rajasthan won the floor test in the state assembly through voice vote Friday but differences in the ruling party seemed to persist as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy and rebel leader Sachin Pilot took veiled potshots at each other.
While Pilot has maintained that he was never in touch with the BJP during his month-long rebellion, the CM indirectly suggested otherwise in his speech.
“Our leaders didn’t involve you in the conspiracy it seems. Your dreams will never be fulfilled. You took the name of the deputy CM twice, you quoted him… That conspiracy was yours, your party’s. … Your central high-command,” Gehlot said while accusing the BJP of trying to create a rift in the Rajasthan government.
“I have been in politics for 50 years. You (BJP) conspired against breaking our government. I am hurt by the way you have been talking. What did you do in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Manipur? You have no concern over whether democracy is in danger,” Gehlot said, while addressing Gulab Chand Kataria, the leader of the opposition.
Pilot took an indirect jibe at the chief minister over the change in his seat in the state assembly. He said while time will reveal the truth, the “Delhi doctor” has treated the ailment, a possible reference to the truce brokered by the Congress high command.
“When I entered the assembly today, I wondered why I was sitting right at the corner next to the opposition benches. I realised when I used to sit there (in front), I was safe and was part of the government,” he said. “I wondered why my seat was changed. Why am I sitting next to the opposition? It is because it’s the border, and only the bravest and most powerful soldier is sent to the border.”
Pilot, however, added that the party was united now and that “all 107 MLAs were together”.
The trust vote
The Rajasthan Law and Parliamentary Minister Shanti Dhariwal moved the motion and Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi allocated three hours for a debate on the motion before voting.
Dhariwal blamed the Modi government for trying to “topple” the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Goa, using money and power. However, a similar attempt in Rajasthan would not succeed, he said.
With the government winning the no-confidence motion, the government stands safe for at least six months. According to convention, a no-confidence motion cannot be moved against a government for six months after it has proved its majority on the floor of the assembly.
In the assembly of 200 seats, the Congress has 107 MLAs. However, during the political crisis Pilot and 18 other MLAs had expressed concerns over the functioning of the government. The BJP has 72 MLAs and also has the support of three RLP MLAs.