The court verdict on Team Sachin Pilot's appeal against disqualification, which is expected today, has much riding on it for the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan. Number crunching indicates that in only one of the three possible scenarios, the Congress government can survive with a substantial majority.
Mr Pilot and 18 MLAs supporting him were sent notices for disqualification last week after they skipped two internal party meetings in a row.
Following a request from the party, Speaker CP Joshi initiated proceedings under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, also known as the Anti-Defection law.
Mr Pilot's team has argued that there has been no defection and squashing intra-party dissent with such heavy-handed measures is a violation of free speech.
They have also called for scrapping of the anti-defection law.
For the Congress, only a verdict in its favour, which will ensure disqualification of the Pilot camp, gives it a substantial majority.
Mr Gehlot is expected to have the support of 101 MLAs in the 200-member assembly. Mr Pilot has the support of 18 Congress MLAs and three Independents.
A disqualification of Mr Pilot and his MLAs will bring down the majority mark to 91.
If the verdict goes in favour of Team Sachin Pilot, there are two scenarios, only one of them makes it possible for the Ashok Gehlot government to scrape through with a wafer-thin majority.
In case the disqualification move falls through, then the majority mark remains at 101, which will make it necessary for all 101 MLAs, said to be supporting the Congress, to vote for it in the house.
The other side will be just one short -- counting in the 75 MLAs of the BJP and its allies, 22 from the Team Pilot and the two MLAs of the regional Bharatiya Tribal Party, which has already dubbed itself the king-maker.
But it leaves the Congress government hugely vulnerable -- even the swing of one MLA to the other side will bring it crashing down.
Once the Ashok Gehlot government is in minority, the BJP can form government only if the Sachin Pilot camp supports it.
But if both sides end up with 100 MLAs each, nobody may be able to form government if the BJP fails to reach an understanding with Mr Pilot.
The 42-year-old former Deputy Chief Minister is holding out for a promotion Chief or even a promise of it within a year -- a subject that was discussed with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Sources in her team have ruled out a positive response.
For the BJP, which is maintaining a cautious distance, fitting in Mr Pilot is a challenge given the huge presence of its former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Ms Raje commands the loyalty of more than 45 of the party's MLAs.
Sources in the legal team of the Congress, however, have indicated a Plan B for the party in case the court verdict goes against it.
The party plans to reconvene assembly, seek a trust vote and issue a whip to its MLAs to vote in favour of the party. If Team Pilot violates the whip, or abstains, they will be disqualified under the Section 2(1)(b) of the Tenth Schedule for acting contrary to the whip, which will ensure the government's survival unless challenged in court.