The Ashok Gehlot government won a confidence vote in the Rajasthan Assembly on Friday, ending the threat triggered by a rebellion within the Congress ranks in the state.
The motion of confidence moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Shanti Dhariwal, was passed by voice vote. It was an expected win after the return of 19 dissident Congress MLAs led by Sachin Pilot, to the party-fold.
Replying to the debate on the motion, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party, accusing it of trying to bring down his government.
“I will not let the government topple at any cost, despite all of your attempts,” he said.
Gehlot said the crisis had come to an end in a “beautiful manner”, and that this hurt the BJP.
“What was done in Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Madhya Pradesh? Elected governments are being toppled and democracy is under danger," he said, accusing the BJP of targeting Congress governments.
Without taking names, he alleged that a Union Minister was involved in the “conspiracy” to topple his government, saying this had become clear after audio clips had surfaced earlier.
The indirect reference was to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who had earlier rejected the Congress’ allegations. The BJP accused the Gehlot camp of blaming it for the infighting within the Congress.
Targeting the CM for his comments against his now-sacked deputy, Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria questioned how Pilot became “useless” after the formation of the government, when he had strengthened the party while in opposition.
Mocking Gehlot for keeping his loyalists holed up in hotels for a month, he said if the government had a majority it could have proven it earlier. He also questioned the Congress government over the deployment of the state police at hotels where the MLAs were staying.
The rebellion by Pilot ended earlier this week after the intervention of the party’s top leadership in Delhi, which assured that his grievances would be heard. On Thursday, Gehlot and Pilot shook hands.
Pilot intervened in the debate, reacting to the remarks made by Kataria and Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore.
Referring to his seat being changed – he earlier sat next to Gehlot as the deputy chief minister – Pilot said he is now placed at the “border” between his party and the opposition in the House. “Who is sent to the border? The strongest warrior is sent,” he retorted.
He also referred to his meeting with the party high command indirectly, saying that they had consulted “the doctor” and were back together in the assembly after having been administered the “treatment”.
The House was later adjourned and will meet again next Friday.