Jaipur/ New Delhi:
Democracy is being destroyed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah at a time the country is fighting coronavirus, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said today, alleging attempts to topple his government by the BJP.
“At this time, we have to decide who is distributing dard (pain) and who is distributing davaa (medicine),” Mr Gehlot said, addressing a press conference along with his Deputy Sachin Pilot and other Congress leaders in Jaipur.
The Chief Minister said even when the world was battling the virus crisis, the BJP was busy bringing the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh down.
The Congress in Rajasthan has complained about “attempts to destabilise the government” and alleged that its MLAs and independent lawmakers supporting its government are being offered inducements to switch sides. Since last year, the Congress has lost power in two big states, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, after multiple defections led to the BJP taking power.
Turmoil in Rajasthan has peaked over elections to three Rajya Sabha seats on June 19.
Sachin Pilot, the Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress Chief, said the party had enough numbers to win two of the seats and no one is leaving the party.
“We have the numbers to win both the Rajya Sabha seats. We have the support of independents. There should be no speculation that we don’t have numbers to win. Don’t mislead people. All MLAs are with us,” Mr Pilot said, denying that his party was in crisis.
On Congress MLAs being put up in resorts, apparently away from the reach of the BJP, Mr Pilot claimed: “We have got together at these hotels as we have not met for three months.”
The Congress has 107 MLAs, including six from Mayawati’s BSP who switched last year. The party also has the support of 12 of the 13 Independent MLAs in the 200-member Assembly. The BJP has 72 MLAs and the support of six more from partners and independents.
To win a Rajya Sabha seat, each candidate needs 51 first preference votes.
The Congress has enough MLAs to win two Rajya Sabha seats. The BJP has, however, put up two candidates instead of one, which has sparked the current row. The BJP can turn the tables even if the 12 Independents currently backing the Congress change their mind.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “Do you have the numbers for a second candidate? This exposes your evil designs”.