The BSP MLAs have twice left their parties and merged with the Congress in Rajasthan during Ashok Gehlot's tenures.
The Sachin Pilot camp has sought to remind Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot about the time when legislators from the Mayawati-headed BSP joined the Congress. Ramesh Meena, who was sacked along with deputy CM Sachin Pilot on Tuesday following a rebellion, was among those to have made the shift from BSP to Congress. Meena is considered a Pilot loyalist and has openly sided with the former deputy Chief Minister in the fight against Gehlot.
“Today they say that there is talk of crores of “len-den” (give and take). I want to ask the Chief Minister — how much money was paid to us when I joined the Congress? Tell the truth,” Meena said.
Meena served as Cabinet Minister of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs in the Ashok Gehlot government. Meena and Vishvendra Singh were among two ministers other than Sachin Pilot dropped from the cabinet by Ashok Gehlot.
The former minister’s remark was in reference to Gehlot’s allegations about horse-trading and a Rs 20-crore deal with the BJP for the revolt by Pilot camp.
Meena noted that BSP MLAs have twice left their party and merged with the Congress, “both times at Ashok Gehlot’s behest”. During his first tenure, Gehlot inducted four BSP MLAs into the Congress and six during the second tenure.
Amid a series of defections in September last year, Mayawati had come down heavily on the Congress party and accused it of buying MLAs.
Another Pilot team member, Murari Lal Meena, asked Ashok Gehlot how much he had offered to him to switch from the BSP. He said people of Rajasthan “rightly” call Ashok Gehlot a magician.
“The kind of allegations he made against us show he really is (a magician). Magicians can spread all kinds of delusions among the public,” the Dausa MLA said.
“Today, they accused us of corruption. That has really hurt us. I want to ask when we came from BSP, how much money did we take from him? Then he used to give speeches about how we were so honest. I want to ask how come we are now corrupt?” he asked.
Earlier on Wednesday, CM Ashok Gehlot had reiterated his accusation of horse-trading by the BJP ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections last month. He alleged that this time, Pilot and his close aides were directly involved.