BJP’s Curious Move to Test Gehlot Strength as Numbers Show Congress Sitting Pretty
The BJP’s decision is a well-thought out strategy to dis-entangle itself from the Congress’ internal feud amidst a growing perception of backing Pilot camp in toppling Gehlot government.
- Last Updated: August 14, 2020, 11:57 AM IST
After a month-long political crisis, the Ashok Gehlot-led government is slated to move a confidence motion in the Rajasthan Assembly during the session starting today, and it appears that the Congress is comfortably placed in terms of numbers.
It comes after the BJP surprised many with its decision to move a no confidence motion. The BJP said on Thursday that it would move a motion of no confidence in the Rajasthan assembly against the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government. The key decision was taken in a BJP legislature party meeting held yesterday.
Gehlot’s move to play on the front foot stems from his confidence in the numbers in his camp. On Thursday, he said he could have proved majority in the Rajasthan assembly even without the 19 rebel MLAs who returned to the Congress fold.
The BJP’s decision to then test the strength of the Congress government has puzzled many observers. But the party’s decision is a well-thought out strategy to dis-entangle itself from the Congress’ internal feud amidst a growing perception of backing Pilot camp in toppling Gehlot government.
With that not happening, the BJP would now want to assume the role of the chief opposition party by bringing in a no-confidence motion to attack the government on the floor of the house.
The BJP, too, is clear that it will not win the floor test. As it stands, the Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-member assembly, which includes the 18 dissident MLAs and Sachin Pilot, who returned to the Congress after a long-drawn rebellion, and the six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators who had jumped ship to join the ruling party.
To add to this, Gehlot has the support of 2 MLAs each of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), one legislator of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, and 13 Independent. So the total strength of the Gehlot government is 125 MLAs in the house.
Meanwhile, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 72 members in the house and has the support of three Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MLAs, taking its total to 75.
The political crisis in Rajasthan Congress ended on Monday after a meeting of Pilot with Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. The rebel MLAs later met top Congress leaders and were assured that their grievances would be redressed in a time-bound manner. Congress president Sonia Gandhi also announced the formation of a three-member committee to hear the grievances of rebel leaders.
Nineteen Congress rebels, including Pilot, had revolted against Gehlot, posing a threat to the Congress government in Rajasthan. Congress removed Pilot as the deputy CM and as the state chief of the party on July 14 but also sent many feelers to Pilot. Tensions simmered between the two leaders when Gehlot had called his former deputy “nikamma” (useless) and had accused him of playing a part in toppling the government.
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