A regional party with two MLAs emerged as a crucial player in the Congress crisis in Rajasthan. The Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) today withdrew support from the Congress, bringing down numbers as the party struggled to keep its flock protected from Sachin Pilot’s rebel camp.
The two BTP MLAs, seen previously to back Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot even if it meant defying their party, today fell in with the decision.
One of them alleged that he had almost been taken “hostage” in a video he posted on social media.
“The situation right now…it is almost as if we are hostages. For three days, we were in the MLA quarters. Many said come with us, come with us…Today, three-four police cars followed me when I went out to the constituency,” said Rajkumar Roat, BTP MLA from Chorasi.
#WATCH Rajkumar Roat, BTP (Bhartiya Tribal Party) MLA from Chorasi in a video, alleges police not letting him move, have taken his car keys and it’s a hostage like situation. #Rajasthanpic.twitter.com/FBbBXCCQoy
— ANI (@ANI) July 14, 2020
“The police cars did not let me move. They surrounded me and my car keys were taken away. The police are on both sides. This is badtameezi (misbehaviour),” said the MLA.
On Monday, BTP chief Mahesh Bhai Vasava wrote to his MLAs saying his party would remain neutral in case of a floor test in the assembly. The MLAs were asked to skip any floor test altogether.
The two legislators then said they were with Ashok Gehlot. “There is some confusion. Right now we are with the government. But we will take a final decision after talking to our leaders,” they told NDTV.
During the recent Rajya Sabha election, both legislators voted for Congress candidates.
The Congress now has 100 MLAs, the half-way mark in the 200-member assembly, after three MLAs left Mr Gehlot’s camp.
Before Sachin Pilot’s revolt, the Congress had 107 MLAs and the support of 13 independents and five from smaller parties. That number has now come down to 90 Congress MLAs, seven independent members and three from smaller parties.
(With inputs from PTI)