Sachin Pilot has claimed the support of 30 MLAs in Rajasthan. (File)
The Congress today avoided collapse in Rajasthan after a revolt by its number two leader in the state, Sachin Pilot, but it packed off at least 100 MLAs to a resort in a sign that its crisis is far from over.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot flashed the victory sign along with Congress MLAs who attended his meeting in Jaipur, asserting that his government is safe. The party has called another meeting of legislators at 10 am tomorrow and invited rebel Sachin Pilot who remained cold to the overtures. As the 42-year-old denied any meeting with Rahul Gandhi, sources close to Mr Gandhi said the two "speak often, directly... and have great respect and affection for each other".
Earlier today, Sachin Pilot today any meeting with Rahul Gandhi and remained unresponsive to Congress attempts to pacify him even as his boss and chief adversary Ashok Gehlot made it clear that he would not forgive attempts at dislodging his government.
Sachin Pilot has denied that he is planning to join the BJP amid reports that he was likely to meet BJP chief JP Nadda in Delhi. There has been speculation that he would take Jyotiraditya Scindia's route in an attempt to reclaim his political space.
The reason behind Sachin Pilot's latest flare up with Mr Gehlot is said to be a letter by Special Operations Group asking him to appear for questioning in an investigation into alleged attempts to destabilize his own government.
The Congress has 107 seats in the 200-strong Rajasthan Assembly and has the support of 10 Independent candidates. Five MLAs from other parties support Ashok Gehlot. The BJP, which has 73 MLAs, needs the support of another 35 to take power in Rajasthan.
Here are the highlights from Rajasthan Congress crisis:
Congress willing to listen to Sachin Pilot, he should tell his grievances: Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Monday said that Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot should come forward to hold talks with the top leadership about his grievances and assured that all problems will be addressed.
The senior leader, however, said that if the action of any MLA leads to harm to Congress government then it is simply not acceptable
"I consider Sachin Pilot as one of the most talented, competent and impressive Congressmen we have. He is a friend also. We all value him in the party. He should come and air his grievances, the floor is open. All people are prepared to listen to him," Mr Singhvi told news agency ANI through videoconferencing here.
"He may have genuine grievances but where I draw a red flag is that if you try to topple a government or hurt your own Congress party. I think everything except that red flag is accepted in the party. It''s a capacious party. I urge, request, beg him to exercise that right," Mr Singhvi added.
If Team Gehlot Is Strong, Why Is It Locked Up In Hotel: Team Pilot Member
Congress leader Hema Ram Choudhary, who is backing rebellious Rajasthan unit chief Sachin Pilot in the continuing tussle for power, has demanded a change in the leadership of the state government. In an interview with NDTV, he expressed doubts on Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's claim of support from 106 MLAs. "If they have 106 MLAs, they have majority. Then why did they need to lock up the MLAs in a hotel?" he asked.
The Congress on Monday packed off at least 100 MLAs to a hotel to ward off possible inducements to join the Sachin Pilot group, which is also camped in a luxury hotel in the national capital. Mr Gehlot flashed the victory sign after a meeting of legislators, indicating that he is not losing sleep over his deputy's rebellion.
Team Sachin Pilot Releases Video Of Rajasthan MLAs Supporting Him
Haryana: Rajasthan Congress MLAs Inder Raj Gurjar, PR Meena, GR Khatana, and Harish Meena among others, at a hotel in Manesar
"With Support Of 109 MLAs, Congress Government Has Complete Majority Under Leadership Of Ashok Gehlot": Randeep Singh Surjewala
2 MLAs Of Bharatiya Tribal Party Pull Support From Rajasthan Government
A regional party with just two MLAS has withdrawn support from the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan, which is trying to weather its worst crisis since 2018. The party stands on the brink of a split, with Mr Gehlot's deputy, Sachin Pilot, openly rebelling.
Mr Pilot has claimed he has the support of 30 MLAs -- which if correct will reduce the government to minority in case of a split. The Congress initially claimed he has the support of around 16 MLAs. This evening, they revised the figure to 10 or 12.
Amid Congress's Rajasthan Crisis, Sachin Pilot Posters Torn Then Replaced
Posters and banners with images of Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion has threatened the Congress government in the state, were replaced Monday afternoon, hours after they were torn down by party workers upset with his actions.
However, his name plate at the Rajasthan Congress's office in Jaipur was left untouched.
In dramatic scenes starting Sunday evening, Mr Pilot has sought to press home long-standing demands for chief ministership - and key portfolios for his loyalists - by claiming the support of 30 MLAs, which is enough to bring down the Ashok Gehlot government.
BJP is busy trying to ruin democracy. Public opinion is being bought for money": Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Rajasthan Political Crisis
Sachin Pilot Not In Touch With Gandhis, Talking To BJP: Congress Sources
"Fake news" was how the Congress dismissed reports that Sachin Pilot was in touch with the Gandhis. Not only that, Mr Pilot is still in talks with the BJP, sources in the party said shortly after its Rajasthan MLAs passed a resolution to penalize anyone indulging in anti-party activities.
The Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, who is at the heart of the current crisis for the Congress in the state, has denied that he is joining the BJP, sources close to him have said.
The denial came amid Congress attempts at reconciliation with the sulking leader. Senior party leader Randeep Surjewala said the party's "doors were open". Insiders said Mr Pilot was in touch with the Central leaders.
"Some fake news was spread," sources in the Congress told NDTV this evening. "Sachin Pilot is not in direct touch with any of the Gandhis. The talks are being conducted only through emissaries and via media," a leader said.
"We Have The Support Of Over 100 MLAs": Prashant Bairwa, Congress MLA On Rajasthan Political Crisis
Sachin Pilot Denies Meeting Rahul Gandhi, Congress' Crisis Worsens
Rebel Sachin Pilot today denied any meeting with Rahul Gandhi, signaling a worsening of the Congress crisis in Rajasthan.
Sachin Pilot was virtually served notice by his boss, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, as Congress MLAs met at his house and recommended "strict disciplinary action" against anyone who "indulges in activities against the Congress government and party, or gets involved in any conspiracy". Sachin Pilot has openly revolted against Ashok Gehlot and has so far rebuffed any attempts at a rapprochement.
He also remained firmly away from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's show of strength. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, sent to Jaipur to handle the crisis, urged: "Talk to us." Hours after this outreach, news emerged of the Congress resolution demanding action against rebels.
Rajasthan Minister Takes To Twitter To Show Sachin Pilot's Struggle
Rajasthan Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh on Monday posted a collage of four photos on his Twitter handle, showing state Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's struggle.
The photos appear to have been taken during various protests and in one of these, Pilot is seen bleeding.
The collage has no caption and was posted apparently to show Sachin Pilot's struggle.
Mr Singh is considered close to Mr Pilot and had skipped the Congress Legislature Party meeting at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's residence here on Monday.
Prior to the meeting, he tweeted, "With an ailing family member in Delhi."
In another tweet, he said, "Whatever my decision, it will be in the interest of the people who have elected me."
Congress MLAs Moved To Resort After Key Meeting At Ashok Gehlot's Residence
From Ashok Gehlot's residence, the MLAs are being moved to a resort outside Jaipur.
Here's how numbers stack up:
Total MLAs in Rajasthan assembly: 200
Half-way mark: 101
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claims he has support of 106 MLAs
Sachin Pilot had claimed 30 in his camp
Sachin Pilot appears to have 16
BJP: 72 + 3 MLAs from Hanuman Beniwal's Rashtriya Loktantrik Party
3 Independent MLAs are under the radar of the Anti Corruption Branch; they are not supporting the Congress anymore
Throwback To When Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot Defended Congress
Sachin Pilot's latest flare up with Mr Gehlot was provoked after he was summoned to answer questions about alleged attempts by the BJP to buy Congress legislators to dismantle the government in Rajasthan. The police reports to Mr Gehlot who is also the Home Minister of the state. The notice sent to Mr Pilot was seen as an attempt to both humiliate and harass him and allude to attempts by him of conspiring with the BJP against his own government. The Chief Minister made it clear that he too has been asked to answer questions by the police - but that has been described by Team Pilot as a skimpy fig leaf.
Doors of Congress always open for Sachin Pilot: Randeep Surjewala
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala says: "I want to clearly state that Congress government is stable in Rajasthan and we will complete the full term. No amount of conspiracy by BJP will be successful in toppling our government in the state."
"If anyone is upset in family, they should find a solution by sitting with members of the family... On behalf of Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, I convey that doors of Congress party are always open for Sachin Pilot or any member," he adds.
All MLAs should take part in Congress meeting: Randeep Surjewala
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala says: "I have spoken numerous times with Sachin Pilot in the last 48 hours. I appeal to all Congress MLAs that people have voted for Congress to lead a stable government in the state, so all MLAs should take part in the Congress Legislative Party meeting today and make our government in the state stronger."
"Over the last 48 hours, Congress leadership has spoken to Sachin Pilot a number of times about the present political situation (in Rajasthan)," he adds.
Third attempt by Sachin Pilot to topple Congress government: Sources
This is the third attempt by Sachin Pilot to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan since March, top sources in the party say, adding that the rebel has been in talks with the BJP for the post of Chief Minister.
Not going with BJP: Sachin Pilot
Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot says he is not going to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The whip to attend the Congress meeting today is not binding on MLAs as the Assembly is not in session, say sources supporting Sachin Pilot.
BJP's Kailash Vijayvargiya blames Rahul Gandhi for Rajasthan crisis
BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has blamed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan and said there is dissatisfaction in the Congress on the directionless politics of their leaders.
"If the workers of the Congress do not have faith in their leader, then such incidents will happen in all states, whether it is Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan or Maharashtra. Statements of Rahul Gandhi indicate that he doesn't stand with India. Sometimes it seems that he is standing with China and Pakistan, then the Congress worker feels cheated," he told news agency ANI.
Congress in Rajasthan will complete full term: Randeep Surjewala
Congress party-led Rajasthan government will complete its five-year tenure and neither the BJP nor its allies have any reason to rejoice, senior Congress leader and spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said after landing in Jaipur late on Sunday night.
"Congress party is united. It will be united and Congress party's government will complete its tenure by serving the people of Rajasthan in the same manner as it is doing now. There is no reason for BJP and its allies to rejoice without any reason," Mr Surjewala said.
109 MLAs have supported Congress government: Party leader
Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said: "109 MLAs have signed a letter expressing their trust and support to government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. A few more MLAs had a telephonic conversation with the CM and they will also sign a letter of support till morning," he added.
Whip issued to Congress leaders to attend meet today
Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said a whip has been issued to all party MLAs to be present at the Congress Legislature Party meeting to be held this morning. "Strict disciplinary action will be taken against any MLA who is absent without mentioning personal or special reason."
Sachin Pilot says 30 MLAs support him, refuses to attend Congress meet today
A message from Sachin Pilot's office read: "Rajasthan Deputy CM and Congress leader Sachin Pilot not to attend Congress Legislative Party meeting scheduled to be held on Monday. Mr Pilot says Ashok Gehlot Govt in minority after over 30 Congress and some independent MLAs have pledged support to Sachin Pilot."
Won't allow a Madhya Pradesh situation again: Congress leader
Congress sources said the party's central leaders are upset with Mr Gehlot for issuing orders to question Mr Pilot, putting the government at risk in one of the few states where it is in power. "We are confident we won't allow a Madhya Pradesh situation again," a senior party leader said.
Congress leaders to meet today
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a a legislature party meeting at his residence last evening, after which the party issued a message of solidarity. "Gehlot-ji has the majority. We will bring more MLAs from BJP than we would lose," Congress MLA Rajendra Gudda was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Another meeting will be held today.
Mr Gehlot has called a meeting of Congress MLAs today, which is likely to give a clear indication of how much support he and state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot enjoy in the legislative group.