The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government on Friday won a confidence vote on the floor of the Rajasthan Assembly, ringing down the curtains on the month-long uncertainty created by the rebellion by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs. The motion of confidence was passed by voice vote after a three-hour debate in the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal moved the motion, saying that though the Congress had a numerical strength in the Assembly, the BJP had tried to topple the government after using money and power in the States such as Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Goa and Karnataka.
Speaker C.P. Joshi accepted the motion and allotted a three-hour slot for the debate on the opening day of the special session. The session was convened after repeated requests to Governor Kalraj Mishra, who thrice returned the State government’s proposal for an Assembly sitting.
The MLAs supporting Mr. Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot put up a united front during the debate. The House, which also condoled the deaths of political leaders in the intervening period since the previous session, was adjourned till August 21 after the confidence motion was passed.
The 19 dissident MLAs led by Mr. Pilot had returned to the party fold earlier this week . Following the expected win, Mr. Gehlot said the Congress’ victory was a message to the forces which were trying to destabilise elected governments.
“Their every tactic failed in Rajasthan. It is the people’s unwavering trust in us and unity of our Congress MLAs that has brought this victory,” he said.
Mr. Gehlot told reporters that the BJP’s “conspiracy” had failed and the Opposition leaders had been exposed during the debate in the Assembly.
Replying to the debate, Mr. Gehlot said in the House that the BJP’s role was dubious during the political crisis and alleged that Home Minister Amit Shah had gone all out to topple his government.
“As the conspiracy failed and all the Congress members came together, the BJP is startled,” Mr. Gehlot said, insisting that he would not let the government be toppled at any cost even if the BJP made all attempts. He also questioned the role of central investigating agencies, stating that they were being misused.
Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria accused the Congress of blaming the BJP for the infighting within the party. Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore said the State government had misused Special Operations Group and Anti-Corruption Bureau and illegally tapped telephones.
The BJP dropped its plan to move a no-confidence motion against the government. Mr. Kataria said while the BJP had no role in the political crisis witnessed recently, it was the Congress which had pushed Mr. Pilot out of the party “despite his good works as the Deputy CM”.
Intervening in the debate when a reference to him was made, Mr. Pilot said he and his supporters had “consulted a doctor in Delhi” and were back to the party fold after “receiv[ing] treatment”. “Earlier I used to sit on the front side of the House. Now I am sitting next to the Opposition, because only the bravest warrior is sent to the border,” he said.
Outside the Assembly, Mr. Pilot told reporters that the trust vote had put a full stop to suspicions. “A roadmap has been prepared for all the issues that were being raised. I have complete faith that it will be announced shortly,” he said, adding that whatever had happened in Congress was the party’s “internal matter”.
Meanwhile, the hearing in the Rajasthan High Court on the petitions of the Bahujan Samaj Party and BJP MLA Madan Dilawar challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs in Congress was completed on Friday. The Single Judge Bench of Justice Mahendra Goyal will deliver the verdict on Monday.