A day after Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's open revolt against the Congress government, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot this afternoon hit back with a show of strength in which he scored close to 100 Congress MLAs.
Supported by independents, the Congress government is, for now, not wobbling in numbers. But that could change if the opposition BJP decides to get involved and work with Mr Pilot to persuade more legislators to exit the Congress.
Sachin Pilot, who skipped the meeting called by Rajasthan Congress today, said this morning that he is "not joining the BJP". The 42-year-old, who is also the chief of the Rajasthan Congress, claims the support of 30 MLAs, enough to bring down the government led by his arch-rival and boss Ashok Gehlot.
Last night, the Congress - at a press conference at 2:30 am - said that 109 MLAs in the 200-member state assembly have expressed their trust in the Rajasthan government led by Mr Gehlot.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, have not met with Mr Pilot who arrived in Delhi on Saturday, but they have been in regular touch with him, party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said this afternoon, expressing the hope that differences will be resolved "at a party forum."
In Sachin Pilot vs Ashok Gehlot, 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
- 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