Over a month after the Congress government in Rajasthan was pushed to the brink following a rebellion by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday proved his majority in the Assembly after winning the confidence motion by a voice vote.
“Winning the trust vote in the assembly is a message to the forces that are trying to destabilise elected governments in the country. Their every tactic failed in Rajasthan,” CM Gehlot tweeted. “It is people’s unwavering trust in us and the unity of our Congress MLAs that has brought this victory.”
Winning the trust vote in the Assembly is a message to the forces that are trying to destabilize elected govts in the country. Their every tactic failed in Rajasthan.
It is the people’s unwavering trust in us & unity of our Congress MLAs that has brought this victory.
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) August 14, 2020
The motion of confidence moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal. The Congress was expected to win after the return of the 19 dissident Congress MLAs led by Pilot to the party-fold.
Replying to the debate on the motion, CM Gehlot accused the BJP again of trying to bring down his government. “I will not let the government topple at any cost even if you make all attempts,” he said.
Gehlot further said the crisis had come to an end in a “beautiful manner” and this had hurt the BJP. “What was done in Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Madhya Pradesh? Elected governments are being toppled and democracy is under danger,” he said, accusing the BJP of targeting Congress governments.
Without taking names, he alleged that a Union minister was involved in the “conspiracy” to topple his government, saying this had become clear after some audio clips surfaced. The indirect reference was to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who has earlier rejected the Congress allegation.
Pilot reached a truce with the Congress after he met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and committed to “work in the interest” of the party and its government in the state.
The Congress, on its part, will form a three-member committee to address, in a time-bound manner, the issues raised by Pilot and the rebel MLAs. With 18 MLAs backing him, Pilot had been raising questions over the working style of Gehlot.
On Thursday evening, Pilot and his MLAs had reached Gehlot’s residence in Jaipur for a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party where the leaders of the two camps shook hands, raised victory signs and posed for cameras.
BJP says Gehlot camp responsible for Rajasthan crisis
The opposition BJP accused the Gehlot camp of blaming it for the infighting within the Congress. Targeting CM Gehlot for his comments against his now sacked deputy, Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria questioned how Pilot became “useless” after the formation of the government when he had strengthened the party while in opposition.
At the height of the crisis, Gehlot had virtually ruled out any possibility of rapprochement, calling Pilot a “nikamma” and a “nakara” (useless and worthless).
Kataria also mocked Gehlot for keeping his loyalists holed up in hotels for a month and said if the government had a majority it could have proven it earlier. He also questioned the Congress government over the deployment of the state police at hotels where the MLAs were staying.
The BJP Thursday had decided to move a motion of no-confidence against the Gehlot government in the Assembly. “It is possible that the government from its own end moves a trust vote. They will do their job, but we will move a motion of no-confidence against the government tomorrow on behalf of the BJP and its allies,” Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria had said yesterday.
Pilot says he is Cong’s strongest warrior, will protect party at all costs
Hitting out at the Opposition over its criticism of the recent political developments in Rajasthan, Pilot described himself as the “strongest warrior” of the Congress and said he would protect his party at all costs.
His comments came during the debate on a motion of confidence moved by the ruling party in the Rajasthan Assembly. During the debate, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Rathore mentioned Pilot’s name in various matters, including the recent political developments in the state and a Special Operations Group (SOG) notice issued to him.
The notice was sent to Pilot after the Rajasthan Police claimed to have stumbled upon a plot to topple the Congress government.
“They are taking my name repeatedly. Prior to my seat being changed, I was safe and part of the government. Then I thought why our Speaker and chief whip have given me a seat here? I thought for two minutes and then saw that this is a border.
“On one side is the ruling party and on the other is the Opposition. Who is sent to the border? The strongest warrior is sent,” Pilot said, interrupting Rathore.
Pilot’s seat in the House was changed after he was removed as the deputy chief minister. Earlier, he used to sit next to the chief minister.
“Many things have been said during the discussion on trust vote and many more will be said. Over time, everything will be revealed,” Pilot said. “But I want to say that whatever I or my companions had to say, we have told the doctor about our complaints… After getting the treatment, all of us today… 125 people are standing in the House.”
From his new seat, he added, he will ensure the safety of his party.
Speaking to reporters later outside the House, Pilot said it is not important where one sits but what matters is what people have in their heart and mind about him.
आज सदन के अंदर प्रदेश की सरकार जो विश्वास मत लायी थी उसको बहुत अच्छे बहुमत के साथ सदन ने पारित किया है और जो अटकलें लगाई जा रही थी उन पर विराम लगा है। pic.twitter.com/QQXfecXKvA
— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) August 14, 2020
He said the sitting arrangement is decided by the Speaker and the party and he would not like to comment on it. “Earlier, I was part of the government and now I am not. It is not important where you sit but it matters what people have in heart and mind,” he said.
With PTI inputs