New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) As Rajasthan politics heats up over Congress Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot being summoned by the police of his own government, his old party colleague turned BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has added to the intra-Congress tussle by saying that Pilot is being “persecuted” by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
In a tweet that has intensified speculation about the BJP’s next move, Scindia said, “Sad to see my erstwhile colleague, Sachin Pilot, too being sidelined and persecuted by Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. Shows that talent and capability find little credence in the Congress.”
Scindia, who too was kept out of power ever since the party’s victory in the 2018 Madhya Pradesh elections, recently jumped ship to the BJP along with his followers, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the state.
Both Scindia and Pilot have worked closely in the party as junior ministers in the UPA government.
Now after Gehlot alleging that the BJP is trying to repeat a MP-like coup in Rajasthan with an upset Pilot and a slew of pro-Pilot MLAs camping in the national capital, Scindia’s tweet saying Pilot is being “persecuted” has forced the Congress to seriously work on the number games.
The Congress’ strength in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly is 102, while its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has one MLA. After six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs joined the Congress, the ruling party’s score in the House climbed up to 108. Add to that the support of 13 Independents, and 2 Bharatiya Tribal Party and two CPI-M MLAs, the party’s tally stands at 125.
Meanwhile, the BJP has 72 MLAs, plus 3 lawmakers from alliance partner Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP).
Party sources said that around 20-25 MLAs could reportedly back Pilot if he leaves the party and joins the BJP. In that case, the Congress’ numbers will fall below 100, while the BJP might touch 100-figure mark.
Sources said that Gehlot has spoken to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan party affairs in-charge Avinash Pandey, and Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of the developments in his state.
Barely months ago, then a Congress leader, Scindia had reached the national capital after being upset with Kamal Nath for not ceding him any political ground in the state, before joining the BJP along with his followers.
Now, another upset Congress leader is camping in Delhi with his followers. Scindia’s tweet will surely give the grand old party its deja vu moment.