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Pilot-loyalist MLAs demand floor test in Rajasthan

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
July 14, 2020 18:04 IST
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Amid the political crisis in Rajasthan, some of the MLAs belonging to the Sachin Pilot camp demanded a floor test in the state assembly to know the number of legislators backing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.


IMAGE: Sachin Pilot. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Ashok Gehlot camp has been saying that they enjoyed the support of 109 MLAs, a claim contested by the Pilot loyalists.

In the run-up to the Congress Legislature Party meeting in Jaipur on Tuesday, Pilot loyalist Ramesh Meena said, "A floor test should be conducted in the assembly. This will expose the claim that the Ashok Gehlot government has the support of 109 MLAs."

Meena is among the MLAs who skipped the Congress Legislature Party meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

He, along with Sachin Pilot and Vishvendra Singh, was removed from the state cabinet later in the day.

The Congress has also sacked Pilot from the post of the party's state unit chief.

Senior party leader and Sardarshahr MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma too claimed that the figure of 109 being projected in the support of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is incorrect.

The MLA said he will not join the Bharatiya Janata Party but wants a change in the leadership.

"The figure of 109 figure being project is completely fake. The Congress has 107 MLAs. We are 22 together and six more will join us.

"Not more than 81 MLAs are on the other side, otherwise, what was the need to show the strength before the media and camp the legislators in a hotel," Sharma said.

He said the situation will become clear once the floor test is conducted.

The seven-time MLA also 'blamed' Congress general secretary Avinash Pande for the mess, accusing him of being 'one-sided'.

He said the government is not in a position to save itself.

Another Congress MLA, Deependra Singh Shekhawat, too had raised the same demanded on Monday.

"We want a floor test at the earliest, which will make the situation crystal clear. We are with the Congress and Congress (state) president Sachin Pilot," Singh had told reporters on Monday.

Congress MLA Murari Lal Meena, who is close to Sachin Pilot, alleged that Chief Minister Gehlot neglected party leaders and workers who worked hard for five years.

In a tweet, he said, 'Improvement is necessary to save the Congress. Otherwise, the party will get only 11 seats in 2023 (assembly elections).'

Meanwhile, Ramesh Meena along with Vishvendra Singh and party MLA Deepender Singh Shekhawat, issued a statement, saying they were taking a stand at a time when their leader was 'threatened with notices from the SOG under charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy'.

'We have for years worked with dedication, devotion and service towards the party. And we are taking a stand to protect our dignity and self-respect,' they said.

The statement further said, 'This is unprecedented in the Indian democracy and the Congress Party, for whom we have toiled with sweat and blood.

'Under the leadership of Sachin Pilot, we have made every effort in the past six years to strengthen the party and bring it to power in Rajasthan at a time when it had been reduced to an insignificant number in the state assembly.'

Public humiliation of Sachin Pilot is something that is totally unacceptable and those responsible for meeting out this treatment need to be made accountable, it said.

The MLAs said they want that their self-respect be restored as they are not 'clamouring' for any post or position, contrary to reports in the media.

We have been senior members of the Congress for many years and have held many positions within the party and the government and are not lured by inducements, they said in the statement.

Gehlot should take floor test, demands BJP

The BJP too demanded that Gehlot take a floor test to prove his government's majority in the assembly.

The party also alleged that the residences of MLAs were being kept under police surveillance and the legislators of Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) 'had been threatened'.

The BTP, which has two MLAs in the Rajasthan assembly, has asked its legislators to remain neutral.

It was earlier supporting the Gehlot government.

"Prove majority in a floor test first and then go for a cabinet reshuffle. The result of the political fight is out," Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria told reporters.

Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore claimed that Ashok Gehlot government will not be able to prove its majority in a floor test.

BJP state president Satish Poonia said that the state government has lost the confidence of the people and it was time for its departure.

"The government has failed to deliver on its promises and failed to perform. We are keeping a watch on the situation and will follow the direction of the party leadership," he said.

The party held a meeting of senior leaders to discuss the situation.

Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal and convenor of Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, which is BJP's ally, was also present.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.