Six BSP legislators who joined with the Congress in Rajasthan two years ago claimed on Tuesday that despite providing stability to the Ashok Gehlot government and standing by it through times of crisis, they have faced “injustice” within the party. They also went after MLAs from the Sachin Pilot camp, claiming that they were putting pressure on the Congress’s top leadership for ministerial berths despite indulging in dissidence.
Two MLAs from the former deputy chief minister Pilot’s party launched a counter-attack hours later, questioning the timing of the outburst and accused the six MLAs of joining the Congress for power.
The new spat occurs as Pilot prepares to camp in Delhi, where he is expected to address the issues of his supporters with the Congress’ top leadership.
The six former BSP MLAs are considered loyalists of the Chief Minister, and their demand for compensation could be part of a strategy by the Gehlot faction to signal to the party high command that, in the event of a cabinet expansion, some of these loyalists should be accommodated alongside Pilot loyalists. Sandeep Yadav, a Tijara MLA who was one of the six who switched to Congress earlier in the day, lambasted the Pilot camp – without identifying anyone – during a press conference earlier in the day. “The 19 persons [Pilot and his camp’s MLAs] are putting pressure on the party’s top leadership. They are putting pressure on it to appoint them as ministers.
Pilot and his 18 faithful MLAs departed Rajasthan last year and camped in Haryana and Delhi for more than a month, causing a political crisis in the state. The Congress claimed to have a majority in the Assembly at the time, claiming the support of Independent MLAs as well as six former BSP MLAs.
“They repeatedly say the high command of the Congress party should listen to the Congress workers. Which workers are they talking about? The government is surviving because of us and you weakened the government after it was formed. The high command shouldn’t listen to them and should instead reward those who saved the government and stood by it,” Yadav said.MLAs Rajendra Singh Gudha, Joginder Singh Awana, and Lakhan Singh spoke at the press conference alongside Yadav. Wajib Ali and Deepchand, two other MLAs, were absent from the press conference. All six MLAs were elected to the Assembly in 2018 on BSP tickets, however, in 2019 they joined with the Congress.