Doubling down on the accusation that the BJP is trying to topple his government, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that Rajya Sabha polls were deliberately delayed by two months as “they had not completed the buying and selling” in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Congress yesterday moved its Rajasthan MLAs to a resort, apparently to check attempts to induce them to switch camps.
“Election (Rajya Sabha) is here. It could have been conducted two months back but they had not completed the buying and selling in Gujarat and Rajasthan, so they delayed it. The election is going to be conducted now and the situation is the same,” Mr Gehlot was quoted as telling news agency ANI.
“How long will you do politics by indulging in horse-trading? It will not be surprising if Congress gives them a jolt in the time to come. The public can understand everything,” the Chief Minister said after a meeting last night with MLAs at Shiv Vilas resort, where they have been sequestered.
He called the meeting “fruitful” and asserted that “everyone is united”.
The Congress in Rajasthan flagged what it called “attempts to destabilize the government” yesterday, in a complaint to the state Anti-Corruption Bureau. The party alleged that its MLAs and independent lawmakers supporting the Congress government were being offered inducements.
“I have come to know through reliable sources that attempts are being made to lure our MLAs and independent MLAs who support us, in order to destabilise the Government,” said a letter by Congress leader Mahesh Joshi, the party’s chief whip in the Rajasthan assembly.
“It is against the spirit of the constitution and condemnable act. Take action against people who are indulging in such activities,” the letter added.
Since last year, the Congress has lost power in two big states, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, after multiple defections – some that stunned the Congresss — facilitated a takeover by the BJP.
The Congress’s nervousness is linked to three Rajya Sabha seats of Rajasthan that are up for election which is scheduled to take place on June 19.
The Congress has 107 MLAs, including six from Mayawati’s BSP who switched last year. The party also has the support of 12 of the 13 Independent MLAs in the 200-member Assembly. The BJP has 72 MLAs and the support of six more from partners and independents.
The Congress has enough MLAs to win two Rajya Sabha seats. To win, each candidate needs 51 first preference votes.
The BJP, however, has put up two candidates instead of one, which has sparked suspicion in the Congress. The BJP can turn the tables even if the 12 Independents currently backing the Congress changed their mind.
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