Sachin Pilot And MLAs In Delhi As Congress Crisis Peaks In Rajasthan

Sachin Pilot And MLAs In Delhi As Congress Crisis Peaks In Rajasthan
Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot is in Delhi with at least eight of his loyalist MLAs and may talk to the party leadership about the developing crisis in government, sources told NDTV. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said yesterday that the BJP is trying to grab power in the state by bribing MLAs, the way they did in Madhya Pradesh in March, leading to the collapse of the Congress government led by Kamal Nath. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been briefed about the situation, sources said. "Sonia Gandhi will take a call on the matter and all must work together whatever the differences," the leader said. The Anti-Corruption Branch is questioning three Independent MLAs who allegedly made offers of money, sources said. The Kamal Nath government had collapsed after senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP with 22 MLAs after a long-drawn power tussle between the party's old guard and the new.

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"We are confident we won't allow a Madhya Pradesh situation to take place again," a senior leader in the party said. "There is an attempt being made to break our government. A lot of money is being given and promised by the Centre and the BJP," sources said.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said yesterday that the BJP, which is the main opposition in the state, was offering MLAs up to Rs 15 crore or "favours" to switch allegiances and help topple his government.

"We keep hearing talk of money being offered to MLAs to switch sides. Some have been promised up to Rs 15 crores and some have been assured of other favours. What they first did covertly, they now do overtly. You saw this in Goa, Madhya Pradesh and the north-eastern states," Mr Gehlot said.

Sachin Pilot, who was a contender for the Chief Minister's post after the Congress victory in Rajasthan in 2018, was given the post of the state Congress chief and made the Deputy Chief Minister with five departments.

The differences between Mr Pilot and the Chief Minister has been brewing since.

Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, who has filed a complaint with the Special Operations Group and the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Rajasthan Police, told news agency ANI the BJP was "terrified".

An MLA from Kushalgarh in south Rajasthan, who was been named as one of those approached by the BJP, has categorically denied the allegation.

The Congress holds 107 seats in the 200-strong Rajasthan Assembly and has support from 12 independent candidates. In addition, five MLAS from other parties - the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the CPI (M) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party - support Mr Gehlot.

Ahead of last month's Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress, unsettled by events in Madhya Pradesh in March, and faced with similar events in Gujarat, moved its MLAs to a resort.

Two days before that Mr Gehlot told NDTV he had heard "reports that the BJP is willing to spend up to 25 to 30 crore per MLA".

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