Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday launched a sharp attack at Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, whose MLAs - huddled in a hotel since last week to prevent possible offers from the rival camp amid a continuing political crisis in the state - were reported watching Bollywood movies and playing board games.
"It is my humble request to Mr Gehlot, don't just watch movies in the hotel, also watch religious sermons and ponder about the state's affairs," he tweeted in Hindi.
As Mr Gehlot is struggling with a revolt by his former deputy, Sachin Pilot, and at least 18 legislators - who have been camping in hotels in Haryana - the over 100 MLAs loyal to the Chief Minister have been unwinding at a Jaipur resort.
गहलोत जी से अनुरोध है कि होटल में सिर्फ फिल्में नहीं देखें अच्छे धार्मिक उपदेश सुनें और राज्य की चिंता करें!#RajasthanPoliticalCrisis— Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (@gssjodhpur) July 23, 2020
It was widely reported earlier this week that the MLAs participated in activities like yoga, cooking classes and watching movies together. They reportedly watched actor Amir Khan's Lagaan. Some of the members of Team Gehlot played "Housie".
The Congress has accused Mr Shekhawat of conspiring to topple the government after an audio tape - in which he was allegedly heard talking to its MLAs - surfaced on social media. The party then suspended its two legislators - Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh.
The Union Minister denied talking to the Congress MLAs, saying the voice in the tape was not his. He said he is ready to face any probe into the allegation.
In a counterattack, the BJP accused the Congress government of illegally tapping phones, and asked them to reveal the source of the audio.
A probe team last week visited a Haryana resort where the rebel MLAs have reportedly been staying, to take the voice samples of Mr Sharma. They, however, returned empty-handed as the BJP government in Haryana sent around 50 policemen to stop them from entering the hotel, located in Manesar; the MLAs were not in the premises when the Rajasthan cops finally managed to enter.
The team later went to another resort but returned after waiting for 20 minutes.
Mr Gehlot on Thursday said the assembly session would be called "soon" and expressed confidence that he has a majority, a day before a crucial verdict on a petition by Sachin Pilot and other Congress rebels who are threatening his government.
The Rajasthan High Court will pronounce its verdict at 10.30 am on Friday on Team Pilot's petition challenging disqualification notices served to them by the Speaker after they skipped two meetings called by Mr Gehlot last week.