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HomePoliticsMughal-e-Azam, Lagaan, antakshari — how Gehlot camp MLAs are spending time in...

Mughal-e-Azam, Lagaan, antakshari — how Gehlot camp MLAs are spending time in Jaipur resort

Nearly 100 MLAs, all Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's loyalists, have been kept in Jaipur’s Fairmont hotel as Congress fears they will be poached by BJP and rebel leader Sachin Pilot.

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Jaipur: For the 100-odd Rajasthan Congress MLAs camping inside Jaipur’s Fairmont hotel, the biggest challenge seems to be how to kill time. These leaders are all Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s loyalists who are virtually locked up for fear of poaching by the BJP and rebel leader Sachin Pilot.

Cut off from the outside world, they are spending time chatting, playing tambola, and watching movies — they watched Mughal-e-Azam and Lagaan last week. Some are also taking cooking classes from the hotel chef, while others could be seen playing antakshari (musical game) and singing ‘Hum honge kamyab (We shall overcome)’.

But all these activities are preceded by a Yoga class in the morning.

Another thing they would have loved to do in such a situation is a visit to the spa, but the coronavirus threat doesn’t give them this option.

“It has been a few days, so naturally people will have to do certain activities to not get bored. It’s like a small get-together. In the morning, a few MLAs do Yoga while others go for a walk. Then breakfast is served, and the MLAs sit together and chat. A few informal meetings are also held by senior leaders. Due to corona, spa and other facilities are not available, so we play tambola, carrom to keep ourselves occupied,” a Congress MLA told ThePrint.

There are special movie screenings at night, said another source, adding Bollywood classic Mughal-E-Azam and Aamir Khan-starter Lagaan have been played so far.

“On Saturday, a number of MLAs watched Lagaan. We ensured social distancing was maintained. Earlier, MLAs had requested for Mughal-E-Azam. In the afternoon, the chef took a cooking class, which was also attended by many,” said another MLA.

As the country remains glued to the political drama unfolding in Rajasthan, these lawmakers are under the protective custody of their party, which claims the MLAs need protection from the Sachin Pilot camp and the BJP.

Also read: Gehlot govt sends police SOG team to Manesar to collect voice samples of Pilot camp MLAs

No one allowed to enter resort

The state plunged into a deep political crisis after former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot declared rebellion last Sunday, claiming to have support of 30 MLAs. By the next day, however, he could not prove support of more than 18 legislators.

On Tuesday, 19 MLAs, including Pilot, were served notices by Speaker C.P. Joshi, who asked them to respond by Friday who asked them to respond by Friday after a petition filed by the chief whip of Congress sought their disqualification from the state assembly. The party Tuesday had also sacked Pilot and two Rajasthan cabinet ministers from their respective posts.

However, the Pilot camp moved court against the Speaker’s move and the matter was adjourned for Monday.

Due to strict security arrangements, no one is allowed to enter the resort. However, family members of some of the MLAs took special permission to meet them.

“On Friday, an MLA’s wife and son came outside the Fairmont hotel. They had to wait for half an hour, and only after all security checks were allowed to meet the MLA and that too for a short period,” said a source.

The Congress MLAs will remain at the Fairmont hotel for the next few days too, even as the Rajasthan High Court is set to hear the case Monday.

MLAs of the Pilot camp so far were staying in a resort in Manesar. However, after the Special Operations Group of Rajasthan Police went there for investigation, they didn’t find the MLAs there.

This is not the first time that political parties have indulged in resort politics. Similar resort politics was witnessed in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh where the BJP returned to power after defector MLAs helped it topple the state governments in July 2019 and March this year, respectively.

On Saturday, both Bharatiya Tribal Party MLAs in Rajasthan formally came out in support of the Gehlot government. One of them had earlier alleged that the government was harassing him and the police was keeping an eye on him.

Also read: Vasundhara Raje breaks silence, says people of Rajasthan paying price for Congress discord


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