Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said the Congress will seek a trust vote in the Assembly to prove its majority in the House, ANI reported. The state’s special Assembly session begins tomorrow.
Hours earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party had said that it would move a no-confidence motion during the session. According to the rules, if the chief minister moves a confidence motion, it will supersede the no-confidence motion moved by any other member.
Gehlot’s announcement came after he met his former deputy Sachin Pilot at his residence during the Congress Legislature Party meeting. The month-long political turmoil came to an end after the Congress secured a truce with Pilot by constituting a three-member panel to address his grievances.
Both Gehlot and Pilot were seen smiling and shaking hands as they met each other. The chief minister told reporters that he would have proved majority in the Assembly without support from Pilot and 18 other rebel MLAs, but “it would not have given us happiness”.
“Everything went on well,” Congress leader KC Venugopal said after the party meeting. “Now the Congress family is united, we will fight against BJP’s bad politics. Tomorrow in Vidhan Sabha Congress party will stand unitedly.”
Venugopal also said that there is no substitute for truth. “The bonds of friendship and ideology are unbreakable, they will stand the test of time and reinvigorate the party,” he tweeted.
Ahead of the meeting, the Congress revoked the suspension of MLAs Bhanwarlal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh, who were sacked in July for allegedly being part of a conspiracy to oust the Congress government in the state. Both the leaders supported Pilot in his rebellion.
The six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs in Rajasthan, who switched over to the Congress last year, will also be allowed to vote in the Gehlot led government’s trust vote. The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to pass an interim order on a petition to stay their merger with the Congress.
In an apparent reference to Pilot and the dissident Congress MLAs, Gehlot had said earlier in the day that he believed in “forgiving and forgetting”.
Pilot’s revolt against the Congress in Rajasthan had pushed the Gehlot-led government on the brink of collapse. Pilot was sacked as the Rajasthan deputy chief minister and the Congress’ state unit chief on July 14. Disqualification notices were served to 18 other legislators on Pilot’s side.
During the political crisis in Rajasthan, Gehlot had repeatedly accused Pilot of colluding with the BJP to topple his government and had called him “nikamma” or useless.
Pilot, on the other hand, said he respected Gehlot but added that he also had the right to raise work-related concerns. “I raised issues of principles, never abused anyone nor do I have personal grudges,” Pilot had said. “I harbour no wish to have a post, these things come and go. We need to work in the direction of strengthening the public’s confidence and trust in us.”
Gehlot has been claiming the support of 102 MLAs, including the Independents, in the 200-member Assembly. Without the BSP MLAs, the numbers would have dropped to 96. The BJP has 72 MLAs.