As of now, the Congress claims that it has enough numbers to prove a majority on the floor of the House. But the recent notice by the Speaker to 19 MLAs confirms that the Congress' tally is just 88 (107-19)
Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot exuded confidence when he flashed the victory sign at his residence in a show of strength with his MLAs. The impression that Gehlot has created is that there is no threat to the government, the party leadership was solidly backing him and Sachin Pilot had been punished for his misadventures. However, a closer look reveals that he could be in serious trouble if the floor test were to happen in the state and the independents decide the other way. As of now, the Congress claims that it has enough numbers to prove a majority on the floor of the House. But the recent notice by the Speaker to 19 MLAs confirms that the Congress’ tally is just 88 (107-19) and not 109 that Gehlot had been claiming all along.
In assembly elections held in 2018, the Congress had won 100 seats – it won 1 more seat in the by-election later. Six more MLAs from BSP left their party to join Congress, taking its total tally 107. The ruling party has support of RLD (1), CPI-M (2) and 13 independent MLAs. The Bharatiya Tribal Party, which has 2 MLAs, recently withdrew its support.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, has 75 MLAs — 72 of its own and 3 MLAs from its alliance partner Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party. In case, the rebel legislators from the Sachin Pilot camp decide to go with BJP, then the total number against Gehlot would be 94, higher than his current 88. However, this scenario is likely only when the rebel MLAs challenge the notice in the court and secure a stay order on the disqualification process.
Earlier in the day, Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said that a notice had been issued to Sachin Pilot and 18 other party members, for not attending Congress Legislative Party meetings on Monday and Tuesday. He said that if they don’t respond within two days, then it would be considered that they were withdrawing their membership from CLP. With this, the rebel MLAs have two days to approach the court to seek relief from any disqualification process against them.
While the fight between the two former colleagues is closer than initially thought, independent MLAs hold the key in this high-stake prestige battle. A lot will depend on which way independent MLAs go, they are so far with Ashok Gehlot but anything can happen considering all powerful opposition (BJP) which has government in Centre.