Why The BJP In Rajasthan Wants A No-Confidence Motion It Can't Win

Rajasthan: Soon after the Congress announced its truce with 19 rebels, the BJP declared that it was "reworking its strategy". A meeting on Tuesday was also cancelled.

The BJP knows Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has a comfortable majority (File)

Jaipur:

The BJP in Rajasthan on Thursday announced a surprising decision to move a no-confidence motion, just three days after the Congress patched up with rebel Sachin Pilot, fortifying the government led by Ashok Gehlot.

Soon after the Congress announced its truce with 19 rebels, the BJP declared that it was "reworking its strategy". A meeting on Tuesday was also cancelled.

That meeting took place on Thursday, and top leaders, including BJP's Rajasthan powerhouse Vasundhara Raje attended it.

Party sources said the decision to call for a no-confidence motion - which they had rejected throughout the Congress rebel crisis -- has nothing to do with numbers; the BJP knows Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has a comfortable majority and has plans to establish it in a trust vote, which will give him a six-month reprieve.

The BJP has attempted to preempt Mr Gehlot's plan by throwing in talk of a no-confidence motion.

"We have replied to their trust motion with a no-confidence motion," said Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia. But according to the rules, the Chief Minister's confidence motion supersedes any other motion.

The BJP reportedly discussed the possibility of Mr Gehlot moving a confidence vote and getting it passed through a voice vote, thus denying the opposition a chance to raise important issues.

BJP sources said its strategy is to force a debate and put the Gehlot government on the backfoot on various issues, including the coronavirus crisis. In the process, the party hopes to expose the fault-lines in the Congress. They believe the deep rifts within the ruling party remain despite Sachin Pilot's return and it is only a matter of time before the next crisis.

When a vote takes place, the BJP, say sources, does not see any chance of Team Pilot making any U-turn on the floor of the house. They are "firmly back in the Congress party", the sources said.

The Congress has 107 MLAs with the return of Team Pilot. All 13 independents are supporting the Congress and, with the backing of smaller parties, it has 125.

In the 200-member Rajasthan assembly, 101 is the majority mark. The BJP is far short of it with 75 MLAs on its side.