BJP has indicated that it will welcome sacked Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot into the party if he expresses his wish to do so but has denied any hand in the rebellion within the Congress. The saffron party slammed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for keeping MLAs “captive” in a hotel and charged that he is leading a minority government.
Union Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Shekhawat alleged that Gehlot had tried to hit two birds with one stone in this whole episode.While ousting Pilot from the post of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee and the post of Deputy CM, Gehlot has also sought to put all the blame for these developments on the BJP.
Asked if Pilot is headed to the BJP, Shekhawat said, “Everybody in politics and the political analysts know that if anybody with a mass base wants to join our party we will welcome him. Since the time Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyay sowed the seeds of the party, people from different ideologies and political parties have joined BJP. We will welcome such people.” BJP was watching the developments from the sidelines as it waited to see how many MLAs were supporting Pilot.
The party has swung into action after his ouster. Party Vice President and Rajya Sabha MP Om Mathur left for Jaipur soon after Gehlot emerged from the meeting with Governor Kalraj Mishra.
BJP is likely to demand a floor test soon while its leaders are reported to be in touch with MLAs who can be swayed.
Meanwhile the party has focused its attack on Gehlot and the Congress. “His (Gehlot) deeds will be written in black letters. Let us see how long his success lasts. He has not left any opportunity to attack BJP, Narendra Modi and the RSS. On this issue, his blaming the BJP is like dragging the neighbor in the fight between a couple,” Shekhawat said.
The Jal Shakti Minister said Congress has kept the MLAs “captive” in a hotel in Rajasthan.
“You have seen the audios of some of the MLAs. Many more such audios and statements will emerge in the coming days. This is a minority government. Now ministerial berths and other allurements are being offered,” Shekhawat said.
BJP has maintained that Gehlot took this step not only to settle scores with Pilot but also to divert attention from his failure in controlling crime.
“One can see Gehlot succeeding in these plans. This is what the director and producer of a Bollywood movie that is set to be a flop do- they engage in various propaganda to make it a success. Rajasthan was becoming the rape capital and minor girls were being assaulted. This is a conspiracy to hide that,” Shekhawat said.
While Pilot appears to have the support of only about a dozen MLAs, BJP is hopeful that some of the lawmakers from Congress, BTP, and Independents can be convinced to switch camps. Gehlot still has only a wafer thin majority in the 200-member Assembly.
The action against Pilot is not the end of this saga, according to BJP insiders.