A floor test to prove the numbers of Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan is the only way to move forward, the BJP said today as the Congress numbers appeared to slip below the majority mark. "Only a floor test can prove the numbers," said the BJP, which has been watching the developments keenly so far. Mr Gehlot, who claims to hold majority, has met Governor Kalraj Mishra.
After a meeting of the legislature party yesterday, the Congress claimed to have the support of 106 MLAs in the 200-member house, where the majority mark is 101.
But this morning, three more MLAs left the Gehlot camp, bringing down his numbers to 100, sources said. The Bharatiya Tribal Party, which has two MLAs and was supporting the Ashok Gehlot government, withdrew support last evening.
Sachin Pilot, who rebelled against his party over longstanding hostilities with Mr Gehlot, has claimed the Chief Minister has the support of no more than 95 MLAs and he has 30. Sources close to him said at least 20 MLAs are with him - 17 from the Congress and three Independents.
Mr Pilot and two ministers supporting him were dropped from the Ashok Gehlot government today as the 42-year-old skipped a Congress meeting twice in a row.
At a press conference, the Congress said the BJP has "ensnared" Mr Pilot to bring down his party's government in Rajasthan. The party has also accused the BJP of attempting to bring down the government through "money power". Mr Gehlot had earlier said the MLAs were being offered 15 crore to switch camps -- an accusation the BJP has denied.
Mr Pilot has denied that he is joining the BJP. He has also ignored the Congress's repeated demands that he meet the top leaders and sort out differences.
Sources have told NDTV that several rounds of meetings have taken place between Sachin Pilot and senior members of the BJP. Though many names are doing the rounds, the BJP has not formally accepted these claims. "We are waiting for Sachin Pilot to take a final call," said a source.
It is also believed that the BJP will take its final decision only after consulting party veteran from Rajasthan and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje. Ms Raje is not believed to out of Jaipur.
On Monday, senior BJP leader and Union minister Uma Bharti issued an open invitation to Mr Pilot, saying, "Both Sachin and Jyotiraditya Scindia are like my nephews. If Sachin comes here (in the BJP) we will be very happy".
In March, Jyotiraditya Scindia had switched sides with 22 MLAs, bringing down the Congress government led by Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh.