Forget, forgive, and move on — this was the underlying yell of the mega reunion that sent across Rajasthan a message of stability and resolution of the crisis triggered by sacked deputy chief Sachin Pilot whose rebellion had pushed the Gehlot government to the brink.
Pilot’s return to Jaipur on Tuesday was a moment of rejoice for the Congress party, but Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s Jaisalmer visit the same day raised doubts on whether the friction was solved between the two top leaders of the state.
The two leaders, however, met on Thursday (August 13) at Gehlot’s official residence, for the first time since Pilot, the former state party chief, openly rebelled against the chief minister a month back, along with 18 other legislators.
The rendezvous assumes significance since the assembly session in the desert begins Friday with both the Congress and the opposition BJP indicating that they’d be moving confidence and no-confidence motions respectively.
Party leaders KC Venugopal, Avinash Pande, Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken and Govind Singh Dotasra were also present at the meeting, posing together for the cameras.
Pilot and Gehlot shook hands in a moment, marking the return of the rebel leader and 18 other dissident MLAs to the party-fold, following the intervention earlier this week by the top Congress leadership in Delhi. Their meeting was followed by the Congress Legislature Party meeting, ahead of Friday’s assembly session.
On Thursday, few hours after the BJP claimed that it has decided to move a no-confidence motion against the Ashok Gehlot government, the Congress countered it with one of its legislators claiming that the chief minister will move a confidence motion in the House. This was announced Thursday at the Congress Legislature Party meeting chaired by Gehlot.
However, as per the rules, if the Chief Minister moves a confidence motion, it will supersede the no-confidence motion moved by any other member of the assembly.
Given the current scenario, it seems Gehlot has the required support to survive a trust motion. In the 200-member assembly, the majority mark is 101. The Congress has 107 MLAs, including the MLAs of Pilot camp, and also enjoys the support of 13 independents. The BJP has 72. Most of the smaller parties too are likely to back the Congress.
If Gehlot moves a trust motion and survives it, his government would get a six-month reprieve.
(With inputs from agencies)