This Article is From Jul 17, 2020

No Action Against Sachin Pilot Till Tuesday, Court Told: 10 Facts

Rajasthan: Sachin Pilot and 18 Congress rebels have challenged notices that warned them of disqualification if they did not satisfactorily explain by today why they defied the party.

On Wednesday evening, Sachin Pilot and other rebel MLAs went to court.

Jaipur: Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress rebels in Rajasthan will not be disqualified by the Speaker at least till Tuesday, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the Rajasthan High Court today. The rebel MLAs will be given time till Tuesday to respond to disqualification notices for "anti-party activities", which they have challenged in court. This morning, the Congress suspended two of the rebels alleging that they had been caught on tape conspiring with the BJP against their own government. The Congress also named Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who has called the audio "fake". Two police cases were filed on the allegations.

Here's your 10-point cheatsheet on the Rajasthan crisis:

  1. A Rajasthan Police team landed at two resorts in Manesar near Delhi where the 18 rebels are staying, intending to arrest Bhanwar Lal Sharma who, the Congress alleges, is one of the two MLAs heard discussing bribes from the BJP as part of a conspiracy against the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan.

  2. A large number of Haryana policemen also showed up at the resorts in a likely build-up to a showdown with the visiting cops from Rajasthan. The Congress has said that Mr Pilot, has deliberately chosen to put up the rebels at hotels in BJP-ruled Haryana.

  3. At a media briefing, the Congress read out transcripts of alleged deal-making audios that emerged online yesterday and alleged that the voices belonged to Mr Shekhawat and rebel MLAs.

  4. The Union Minister called the tapes fake and said he was ready to face any investigation. "The audio doesn't have my voice. If I am called for questioning I will definitely go," Mr Shekhawat said.

  5. The BJP accused the Congress of resorting to defamation and illegal phone-tapping in desperation. "Did the government tap phones? You cannot tap phones without proper permission. Court doesn't accept such tapes. This is like Watergate scandal," said BJP's Rajasthan chief Satish Poonia. "Is this how a modern Gandhi acts," he said in a dig at the Congress leadership.

  6. For team Pilot, winning the court battle is important. If the rebel MLAs are disqualified, the majority mark will drop, making it easier for Ashok Gehlot to win a floor test. If the rebels can vote in the assembly, the Congress government could fall. Mr Gehlot needs 101 MLAs to vote for him in the 200-member assembly and claims he has the support of 106.

  7. Mr Pilot has been in Delhi with around 20 rebel MLAs since the weekend. His running feud with Ashok Gehlot escalated after he was asked to answer questions on the alleged conspiracy to bring down the government in which he was number two. As he refused to return to Jaipur and skipped meetings called by the Chief Minister, he was removed as Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress chief. But in Delhi, the Congress leadership continues its efforts to bring him around.

  8. Mr Gehlot told News18 India, "I have not been speaking to Pilot for the last year-and-a-half" though he added, "I am not against Sachin Pilot and Rahul Gandhi knows this. Even if he decides to come back, I will hug him with love."

  9. The Chief Minister was asked to dial down his acrimonious attacks on his former deputy. "We have proof that horse-trading was being committed. Rs 20 crore was offered... Our deputy chief minister himself was doing the deal and was giving statements that no horse-trading was taking place. What clarifications are you giving when you yourself were involved in it," Mr Gehlot had alleged.

  10. Team Pilot says he could not join Mr Gehlot's meetings when he was so "aggrieved". Sources close to Mr Pilot also wondered if he could trust the Congress's assurances anymore. They said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to him on Tuesday and said she would speak to Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. But three hours later, he was sacked from his posts in Rajasthan.