Rajasthan Cong issues whip to MLAs for CLP meeting; Sachin Pilot to skip

The CLP meeting was called after the crisis in Rajasthan Congress intensified with Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot at loggerheads

The Congress Legislative Party has issued a whip to its MLAs to attend a meeting on Monday in Jaipur, said Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said on Sunday, warning the lawmakers of face disciplinary action if they skip.

The meeting has been scheduled to be held at 10:30am .

The decision to issue a whip for today's meeting was taken after a meeting at Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot's residence here on Sunday which was attended by around 75 MLAs including ministers.

After the meeting, Pande addressed a press conference in the early hours today along with party colleague Randeep Surjewala and Ajay Maken, who had reached Jaipur late on Sunday night. The two leaders have been sent by the Congress as central observers to save the party's government in the state.

"A whip has been issued to all party MLAs to be mandatorily present at Congress Legislature Party meeting to be held tomorrow morning. Strict disciplinary action will be taken against any MLA who is absent without mentioning a proper reason," Pande said.

Pande further said that 109 MLAs have expressed their trust in the Rajasthan government led by Chief Minister Gehlot.

"A total of 109 MLAs have signed a letter expressing their trust and support to Rajasthan government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and leadership of Sonia Gandhi ji and Rahul Gandhi ji," the Congress general secretary said.

"A few more MLAs had telephonic conversations with Chief Minister and the will also sign letter of support till morning," he added.

Rajasthan Congress in-charge alleged that Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to destabilise the government.

"BJP is doing this in every state. We have recently seen this in Madhya Pradesh, but we will not allow them to do so here," he said.

Asked whether or not Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who is currently camping in New Delhi, will attend the CLP meeting, Congress leader Surjewala countered with another question. "Why do you think he will not attend the meeting?" he asked.

The CLP meeting was called after the crisis in Rajasthan Congress intensified with Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot at loggerheads.

Chief minister Gehlot has blamed the BJP for attempting to destabilise the State government by poaching Congress MLAs, which has been denied by the BJP.

Pilot is camping in Delhi to speak to the party leadership regarding the political turmoil in the State.

A controversy broke out in Rajasthan after Special Operation Group (SOG) sent a notice to Sachin Pilot to record his statement in the case registered by SOG in the alleged poaching of Congress MLAs in the state.

The clash between Gehlot and Pilot is also over the post of PCC Chief as Gehlot Camp wants that 'One Leader One Post' formula to be implemented in Rajasthan. Currently, Sachin Pilot heads the PCC besides holding the Deputy CM post.

Congress has 107 MLAs and the Gehlot government is supported by 10 Independent MLAs and two each from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party while BJP has 72 seats in the 200-member Assembly.

As many as 30 Congress MLAs and some independent legislators who are in touch with Sachin Pilot have pledged their support to him and have vouched to stand by whatever decision he takes, sources said.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel