BJP-Congress are one, tweeted BTP founder Chhotubhai Vasava (File)
A party with two MLAs has threatened to withdraw support from the Congress government in Rajasthan, alleging betrayal by its senior ally. While the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP)'s possible exit will not affect the state government's majority, what is significant is how rivals Congress and BJP joined hands to keep the tiny party from taking charge of a district-level board.
The BTP's resentment revolves around recent polls to elect members to local bodies at the district and village levels.
The party won 13 members in the Dungarpur Zila (district) Parishad but could not form the 27-member board. The majority is 14. The Congress should have backed it, the BTP says.
Instead, the Congress supported the BJP and independents to form the board, keeping the BTP from doing so.
"BJP-Congress are one. BTP will withdraw support from the Rajasthan government," tweeted BTP founder Chhotubhai Vasava.
The BJP had eight members and the Congress six, both far outdone by the BTP. The two parties supported two independents -- rebels from each party.
Their joint move reveals their worry that the BTP is improving its base among tribals, traditionally a Congress vote-base. The tribal party has a strong base in south Rajasthan.
The BTP feels cheated especially because of its support to the Congress government of Ashok Gehlot when it faced rebellion from Sachin Pilot earlier this year.
As the Congress guarded its flock at a resort in Jaipur, the two BTP MLAs posted a video of being stopped by the police from leaving the city.
However, they soon emerged in photos with Mr Gehlot and his MLAs, fortifying his numbers.
If the two MLAs do exit, the Congress will still have a comfortable majority; in the 200-member assembly, the Congress has 106 MLAs and support of 12 independents.
BTP chief Chhotubhai Vasava famously helped Congress leader Ahmed Patel scrape through in a bitterly contested Rajya Sabha election in 2017. He was still a member of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United at the time. He formed the BTP this year.