As a crisis appeared to be brewing in the faction-riddled Rajasthan Congress, senior party leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday said he was “worried” for the party.
“Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables,” he said on Twitter, a day after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot accused the BJP of trying to topple his government by bribing Congress legislators. “Worried for our party,” the former Union minister said.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha said his worry is every party member’s concern.
“Kapil ji your worry is every party member’s concern. It’s time to strengthen the party to fight forces who have only 1 agenda : weaken congress and our democratic values and institutions,” he tweeted.
A power struggle between Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, which has been on since the Congress’ central leadership picked the senior leader for the chief minister’s post, appears to have deepened with those in Pilot’s camp claiming that there have been repeated attempts to undermine his authority.
The latest flashpoint between the two is a notice issued to Pilot by the Rajasthan police’s Special Operation Group in a case related to alleged attempts to bribe Congress MLAs to switch sides in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Gehlot, however, has repeatedly pointed out that a similar notice has been sent to him, the government’s chief whip as well as some ministers.
Pilot, along with some Congress MLAs, is currently camping in the national capital and is seeking a meeting with top Congress leadership.
The SOG on Friday registered an FIR against two people, who have been arrested, after their call intercepts allegedly indicated involvement in horse-trading of Congress MLAs.
Gehlot had on Saturday accused the opposition BJP of trying to topple his government by offering his legislators large sums of money and said his administration is not just stable but will complete its five-year term.
The BJP had asked Gehlot to prove his allegation of horse-trading levelled against it or quit politics, and claimed he was targeting the opposition party as he was unable to check the infighting in the state Congress.
The opposition party alleged that the whole controversy has been “cooked up” by the chief minister to defame Pilot.
The trouble in Rajasthan comes nearly four months after the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh collapsed after a rebelling by Jyotiraditya Scindia following a similar power tussle.