India

Failure To Launch? Sachin Pilot Rules Out BJP, Team Gehlot Claims Tally Up

Failure To Launch? Sachin Pilot Rules Out BJP, Team Gehlot Claims Tally Up

Rajasthan: Two more ministers who joined Sachin Pilot revolt was also dropped

New Delhi: Sachin Pilot reasserted today that he is not going to the BJP and remains a Congress man amid signs of a softening on both sides and reports that his squad of rebels looked wobbly. Differences have emerged in Sachin Pilot's camp with a few dissident MLAs reluctant to break ranks with the party, sources said. The threat level to the Congress government in Rajasthan has gone down, said sources, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claiming the support of 105 MLAs, four more than he needs for a majority.

Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. The rebels were issued notice by the Rajasthan assembly Speaker for defying the party and were asked to respond by Friday.

  2. In Delhi, there were signs of a retreat as Sachin Pilot reemphasised that he is not going to the BJP and remains a Congress man.

  3. "I am not joining the BJP. I would like to make it clear that I have no plans to join the BJP. The BJP link is an attempt to malign me in the eyes of the Gandhis," Mr Pilot told.

  4. An instant response came from one of his chief adversaries in Rajasthan. "The doors have not shut for Pilot. God give him good sense to understand his mistake. I pray that he comes out of the BJP's web," tweeted Avinash Pande, the Congress in-charge of Rajasthan.

  5. Congress sources said Mr Pilot's reiteration that he is not switching sides has been well-received by the Congress leadership and it is "not averse" to speaking with him but at an appropriate time. However, the post of Chief Minister is not on the table, sources say.

  6. Mr Pilot was on Tuesday sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and removed as state Congress chief. "The truth can be harassed but not defeated," Sachin Pilot reacted in a tweet.

  7. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's camp claimed he has the support of 105 MLAs, up five from yesterday, when the Congress appeared to be barely at the half-way mark in the 200-member assembly. Mr Gehlot needs 101 votes to stay in power.

  8. Before Sachin Pilot's rebellion, the Congress had 107 MLAs besides the support of 13 independents and five members from smaller parties - 122.

  9. Mr Gehlot has sequestered Congress MLAs at a resort where they were taken straight from a show of strength at the Chief Minister's home on Monday. Every Congress MLA has a police escort now.

  10. The BJP, which had kept a cautious eye on the Congress crisis till now, has been proactive since yesterday. But the party cancelled a meeting today. The BJP, which has 73 MLAs, needs the support of another 35 to take power in Rajasthan. Smarting after Jyotiraditya Scindia's exit three months ago, which contributed to the Congress collapse in Madhya Pradesh, the party made several attempt to reach out to Sachin Pilot and many leaders said how things went down was "sad".