With the Rajasthan political crisis continuing for the ninth day, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader handling Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, on Sunday said the party will decide on ‘merit’ if some rebel MLAs want to return to the Congress fold.
Speaking exclusively to The Hindu , the Congress general secretary said Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is fully prepared to demonstrate his strength in the Assembly and his government will complete its term of 5 years.
Mr Pande, however, declined to comment on whether the Congress would make any further attempt to reach out to former Rajasthan Congress chief, Sachin Pilot.
“Ashok Gehlot ji has the numbers but we are fully prepared. If the situation demands, then the Chief Minister can decide on convening a special session of the Rajasthan Assembly,” Mr. Pande said on the possibility of a floor test and added that the party is now awaiting the decision of the Rajasthan High Court.
On Thursday, Mr Pilot and 18 of his supporters had moved the High Court against the disqualification notice issued by Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi.
‘Respond to Speaker’
“The MLAs who didn't follow the instruction of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) should first give a satisfactory reply to the Honorable Speaker’s notice that was issued after our complaint. The party can then decide on merit if some of the Congress MLAs want to come back,” Mr. Pande said.
The AICC Rajasthan In-charge, who posted a video clip of Congress MLAs singing ‘ Hum honge kamyab [We shall overcome]’ on his Twitter handle, claimed the rebel MLAs are “now being fully controlled by the BJP”.
Asked about reports that eight or nine MLAs of the Pilot camp are in touch with the Congress, Mr Pande said: “I would not like to comment on speculation.”
Former Union law minister Kapil Sibal , meanwhile, tweeted about the need for a ‘vaccine’ against a ‘virus’ from Delhi that topples elected governments.
“Need for Vaccine: Virus of “corrupt means” to topple elected governments has spread through a “Wuhan like facility” in Delhi. It’s “ antibodies” lie in amending the Tenth Schedule. Ban all defectors from: Holding public office for 5years, Fighting the next election,” Mr. Sibal said.