Sachin Pilot has not snapped contacts with the top leadership of the Congress even after moving the Rajasthan High Court to challenge the disqualification proceedings initiated against him and 18 other MLAs in the state.
Sources in the Congress said Pilot is in touch with AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The BJP, however, believes that the crisis in the Rajasthan Congress has gone past the point of no-return.
Congress sources said Pilot telephoned Priyanka over the weekend. But no details of the conversation could be confirmed. The top leadership, including Priyanka, is open to meeting Pilot, the sources said.
This development comes even as the Ashok Gehlot government appears to be preparing a plan B against the dissidents led by Pilot.
Congress leaders did not rule out the possibility of the Assembly being convened for a confidence vote to “expose” the dissident MLAs on the floor of the House. The hearing on Pilot’s petition will resume on Monday, and the next course of action will depend on what happens in court, sources in the party said.
The BJP, however, believes that a rapprochement is no longer possible, Pilot’s one-line assertion that he was not joining the saffron party notwithstanding. The BJP is, therefore, lending its weight to Pilot’s efforts against Gehlot, sources in that party said.
According to one calculation within the BJP, there are 21 MLAs in the Pilot camp, including the 19 Congress rebels and two Independents – Om Prakash Hudla (Mahuwa) and Suresh Tak (Kishangarh). These 21 MLAs, along with the BJP’s own 72 and three of its ally, the RLP, take the anti-Gehlot number in the 200-member Assembly to 96.
“Having come this far, it is not wise to not use this opportunity,” a senior BJP leader who is aware of the party’s plans in Rajasthan, said. The party has asked a clutch of tested leaders from its Rajasthan unit to explore the chances of winning over some MLAs currently in the Gehlot camp, the source said.
“The issue is that Gehlot has herded them (the MLAs) together at one place. This is making it difficult to gauge the minds of several MLAs who may not hesitate to jump the ship,” the source said.
State unit chief Satish Poonia and former minister Rajendra Singh Rathore have been tasked with coordinating the BJP’s efforts at the state level, sources said.
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