Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress chief Sachin Pilot has been sacked from both his posts along with two other ministers. This announcement was made by Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala in an interaction with the media today. The decision was taken in a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's residence which Pilot skipped.
State Tourism Minister Vishwendra Singh and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Meena have also been sacked from their posts. Minister for Education (Independent Charge), Tourism & Devsthan and Rajasthan Congress Vice President Govind Singh Dotasra will replace Pilot as the state Congress chief.
सत्य को परेशान किया जा सकता है पराजित नहीं।— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) July 14, 2020
Following his sacking, Pilot posted a tweet in Hindi which reads, "सत्य को परेशान किया जा सकता है पराजित नहीं।" (Translation: Truth can be disturbed, never defeated)
The Congress said that 106 MLAs out of 122 MLAs attended the CLP, which the Pilot camp disputes. Pilot claims to have the support of 30 MLAs and did not attend the meeting. Vishwendra Singh tweeted a video along with the caption "Family", in which reportedly 16 MLAs could be seen sitting in a circle.
With Pilot's sacking, the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot is in danger of being toppled. The Congress has 100 MLAs and have formed the government with the support of MLAs from the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, the Bharatiya Tribal Party and some Independents.
In a press conference at midnight on July 13, Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said that the Gehlot government has the support of 109 MLAs with talks being held with others. "A total of 109 MLAs have signed a letter expressing their trust and support to Rajasthan government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and leadership of Sonia Gandhi-ji and Rahul Gandhi-ji. A few more MLAs had telephonic conversations with the Chief Minister and they will also sign letter of support till morning," Pande said.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had earlier said that the Congress government will complete its full term in Rajasthan and accused the BJP of conspiring to topple the government.
I want to clearly state that Congress govt is stable in Rajasthan and we will complete the full term. No amount of conspiracy by BJP will be successful in toppling our govt in the state: Randeep Surjewala, Congress pic.twitter.com/zQzHXSM7bD— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2020
After the Congress won the Rajasthan election in 2018, a tussle emerged between the then two-time Chief Minister Gehlot and Pilot for the CM's post with Gehlot emerging victorious. Pilot was given the post of Deputy CM but had been reportedly unhappy with the outcome.
According to reports, Pilot was miffed after he was summoned for questioning by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police who are investigating allegations that attempts are being made to destabilize the Congress government ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. CM Gehlot said that he too was summoned by the investigating group but that didn't placate Pilot.
"Nobody wants to leave his home, but can't continue to put up with this kind of humiliation; my MLAs and supporters are extremely hurt and I will have to listen to them," Sachin Pilot told senior journalist and political analyst Javed Ansari. However, according to NDTV, Pilot has stated that he will not be joining the BJP.
The Congress has seen two of its state government being toppled in the last year due to defections by party MLAs. The Karnataka government led by Janata Dal leader HD Kumaraswamy was brought down after 13 Congress MLAs and three Janata Dal MLAs resigned. The BJP, led by BS Yediyurappa formed the government after winning 12 out of 15 seats in the resulting by-elections.
On 10 March 2020, Pilot's close friend Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the Congress along with 22 Madhya Pradesh Congress MLAs. Hours before a floor test was to be held in the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned paving the way for the BJP to come back into power.