The Congress was more than comfortable in terms of numbers to ensure the win of two of its nominees in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said on Saturday.
In an exclusive interview with The Hindu , Mr. Pilot, who also heads the party in Rajasthan, said that the BJP may have approached independent MLAs but ruled out that “there was ever a crisis in the Congress camp”.
“The fact is that the two candidates were chosen by Ms. Sonia Gandhi and as the Rajasthan Congress chief, it is my duty to get them elected, no matter what,” Mr. Pilot said.
He said while the Congress needed only 101 votes to get two of its members elected, the party had 107 MLAs of its own.
The 12 Independent MLAs, supporting the government, will only add to the ruling party’s strength.
Last Wednesday, Mahesh Joshi, Chief Whip of the Congress in the Rajasthan Assembly, went to the Anti-Corruption Bureau , alleging that their MLAs were being ‘lured with money to topple the government’.
While the central leadership rushed Randeep Surjewala and All India Congress Committee Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pande to Jaipur, the MLAs were moved to a resort outside to prevent “attempted poaching”.
Hitting back, BJP state chief Satish Poonia dared the Congress to prove its charge and blamed the division between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the Deputy Chief Minister.
Countering the BJP’s charge of internal divisions within the Congress in Rajasthan, Mr. Pilot said the BJP should first put its own house in order.
“As far as the BJP is concerned, there are more factions in the state BJP than I can count on my hands. And the side-lining of Vasundhara Raje is obvious and apparent,” Mr. Pilot said, avoiding a direct reference to his reported differences with Mr. Gehlot.