In a big twist in the Rajasthan Congress crisis, the BJP on Thursday announced that it would move a no-confidence motion against the Ashok Gehlot government in the special assembly session starting from today. Soon after, the ruling Congress said it would go for a trust vote to prove its majority in the house.
If the Chief Minister moves a Confidence Motion, it will supersede the no-confidence motion moved by any other member, according to the rules.
Chief Minister Gehlot had planned a trust vote for days, even when he had a wafer-thin majority of 102, just one more than the majority mark in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. Winning the vote will give him a six-month reprieve.
With the return of Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion had briefly endangered the Congress government, Mr Gehlot has the support of 125 MLAs. The Chief Minister, at the height of his clash with Mr Pilot, had accused him of conspiring with the BJP to bribe MLAs to cross over and bring his government down, in the same template as Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP has 72 MLAs and the support of three more, hardly enough to challenge Mr Gehlot on the floor of the house. The party does not expect any change of heart from Team Pilot either.
Sources say the BJP's move is more of a strategy to force a discussion in the assembly to corner the Gehlot government on various issues.
Till now, the BJP had always distanced itself from the Congress crisis and had denied that it would move a no-confidence motion against the state government.
The opposition party was not even seen to consolidate its flock or plan any strategy, with its top Rajasthan leader, Vasundhara Raje, maintaining silence.
Vasundhara Raje was present on Thursday for what was the first meeting of BJP MLAs since the Congress rebel crisis broke out early July.
On Tuesday, a day after Sachin Pilot's patch-up with the Congress leadership, the BJP cancelled its MLAs' meet.
"We are reworking our strategy," the BJP's Ghulabchand Kataria, Leader of Opposition, told NDTV, insisting that despite the truce, the Congress would not complete its five-year term.
Mr Gehlot remarked: "The BJP doesn't know what hit them! They suddenly cancelled their meeting. They realized that their conspiracy didn't work."