Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday appealed to all MLAs to “stand with the truth” and “listen to the voice of the people to save democracy”, six days before the floor test in the Assembly. The floor test has been necessitated as the Congress government in the state teeters on the edge, after ousted Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot’s revolt.
“It is my appeal that you should listen to the voice of people in order to avoid wrong tradition, to maintain people’s trust in us and to save democracy,” Gehlot said in a letter, a copy of which he shared on Twitter on Sunday. “You may be a legislator from any political party, you should ensure and take a decision after understanding voter’s feeling that how a people’s elected government continues to work strongly for state’s welfare.”
Gehlot expressed confidence that attempts to destabilise his government will not work. He was also sure that the legislators would act in the larger interest of people of the state and will cooperate in fulfilling the promises of development and prosperity.
Gehlot added that former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee too suffered defeats during elections, “but did not let the institution of democracy weaken”, NDTV reported. “Amid the pandemic, we should all be concerned about fighting coronavirus... saving lives, economy, jobs,” he said. “The state government is working day and night for this. At such a time, some of our colleagues and opposition leaders are trying to conspire against us...this is unfortunate.”
Making a non-partisan appeal, the chief minister claimed on Sunday that even those Opposition MLAs who choose not to destabilise the government will win.
The Gehlot camp has been claiming the support of 102 MLAs, including the Independents, in the 200-member Assembly. Without six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs who had defected to the Congress in September last year, the numbers drop to 96. The Bharatiya Janata Party has 72 MLAs. The majority mark in the Assembly is 101.
Gehlot is hoping that the Congress MLAs supporting Pilot, who were camping in BJP-ruled Haryana, would return to the party fold when the Assembly session begins.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Saturday moved six of its MLAs to Probandar in Gujarat. BJP MLA Nirmal Kumawat has claimed that the Congress government in Rajasthan is “harassing” Opposition MLAs. He claimed they were on a pilgrimage to the Somnath temple in order to find “peace”.
The Congress legislators supporting Gehlot, on the other hand, have been holed up in a hotel in Jaisalmer, with the Congress accusing the BJP of attempting horse trading.