The Rajasthan Congress on Sunday claimed they stand together behind Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, denying the daylong crisis in the party seen to have been triggered by Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who is camping in Delhi. "The Congress stands united," said the party at a press conference in Jaipur, where three MLAs who visited Delhi on Saturday and is seen as part of the Sachin Pilot camp, also made an appearance.
One of them, Rohit Bohra, had earlier told NDTV that his visit to Delhi was "personal" and it was there that he met with the other two MLAs, who also came to Delhi on their own errands."We are Congress men. We are committed to the Congress party," said Danish Abrar and Chetan Dudi, the two others who were also in Delhi on Saturday.
The MLAs, who had gone to Delhi on Saturday, were back in Jaipur by Sunday afternoon in a day of fast-paced political developments. By evening, they made their U-turn.
Mr Pilot -- who lost the race for the Chief Ministership to veteran Ashok Gehlot in 2018 -- is believed to have been in talks with the BJP since before the lockdown. But the BJP is not ready to offer him the Chief Minister's post as he may not have the support of 30 to 35 MLAs it might need to form the government in Rajasthan.
Sources said Mr Pilot is said to have the support of 19 MLAs -- 16 from his own party and three Independents.
A section of leaders maintained Mr Pilot might split the Congress and form a regional party -- a situation that's unlikely to offer any rewards to any rebel who might follow him out of the Congress. The BJP has denied any talks with Mr Pilot, though its senior leaders admitted that they are closely watching the developments in Rajasthan.
The jitters in Rajasthan came three months after the Congress lost Jyotiraditya Scindia and Madhya Pradesh to the BJP -- a fallout of the tussle between the party's old guard and the new.
Mr Scindia – whose aides denied that he had any contact with Mr Pilot -- on Sunday tweeted a jibe at the Congress.
"Sad to see my erstwhile colleague, @SachinPilot too, being sidelined and persecuted by Rajasthan CM, @ashokgehlot51. Shows that talent and capability find little credence in the @INCIndia," his tweet read.
Mr Pilot has been left upset by a letter asking him to appear for questioning by the Special Operations Group in an investigation related to the horse-trading claim.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has pointed out that he and party chief whip Mahesh Joshi, who filed the complaint have also received summons for questioning – a claim that has been seen as eyewash as the home ministry under him controls the SOG.