- Congress claimed it has support of 109 MLAs to back state government
- Sachin Pilot claims support of 30 MLAs, has refused to attend key meeting
- The 42-year-old is in Delhi with some loyalists
After a daylong crisis in Rajasthan seen to have been triggered by Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who is camping in Delhi, the ruling Congress - at a 2:30 AM briefing - has claimed that it has the support of 109 MLAs to back the state government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
"A total of 109 MLAs have signed a letter expressing their trust and support to Rajasthan government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and leadership of Sonia Gandhi-ji and Rahul Gandhi-ji," Rajasthan Congress in-charge and party general secretary Avinash Pande said at the post-midnight press conference after a legislature party meeting at Ashok Gehlot's residence in Jaipur. "A few more MLAs had telephonic conversations with the Chief Minister and they will also sign letter of support till morning," he said.
The party leader also said that the Congress delegation went to Jaipur on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's instructions. The late-night press conference in Jaipur was held by Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken and Avinash Pande.
While Sachin Pilot - who claims the support of 30 MLAs - has refused to attend a key meeting of Congress MLAs called by Chief Minister Gehlot at 10:30 AM today, the Congress has issued a whip to its MLAs to attend the meeting.
Sources said Mr Pilot is likely to meet BJP chief JP Nadda today. The 42-year-old, who is in Delhi with some loyalists, has not been granted a meeting with the Gandhis so far.
The Congress holds 107 seats in the 200-strong Rajasthan assembly and has the support of 10 Independent candidates. In addition, five MLAS from other parties -- the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the CPM and the Bharatiya Tribal Party - support Mr Gehlot, who claimed on Saturday that the BJP was offering up to Rs 15 crore to MLAs to switch sides.
The BJP has 73 MLAs and is backed by three from the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party.
The majority mark is 101.
On Sunday evening, the Congress paraded the three MLAs who were in Delhi on Saturday and were known as loyalists of Mr Pilot, before the media. All three said they supported the Ashok Gehlot government. One of them, Rohit Bohra, had earlier told NDTV that his visit to Delhi was "personal" and the other two MLAs also had their own errands.
The tipping point for Sachin Pilot came after he was summoned for questioning in an investigation into an alleged bid to destabilise the state government ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. "Nobody wants to leave his home, but can't continue to put up with this kind of humiliation; my MLAs and supporters are extremely hurt and I will have to listen to them," he told me on the phone earlier this evening," senior journalist and political analyst Javed Ansari wrote in his blog on Sunday.
(With inputs from ANI)