Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi on Wednesday issued notices to 19 dissident MLAs, including Sachin Pilot, asking them to respond within two days or face disqualification as legislators. The Speaker’s decision came after the Congress party petitioned him seeking the disqualification of the 19 MLAs for defying the party whip and skipping the two meetings of the Congress Legislature Party in Jaipur.
The Congress party on Tuesday cracked the whip against Pilot and two of his loyalists for the revolt against the Ashok Gehlot government. While Pilot was stripped of his responsibilities as Deputy Chief Minister and president of the party’s state unit, Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena were also dropped as ministers in the state cabinet.
The decision to sack Pilot and his loyalists came after the Congress MLAs unanimously passed a resolution at the second CLP meet at Hotel Fairmont on Tuesday, demanding that Pilot and the rebelling MLAs be removed from all party posts. A total of 19 MLAs, including Sachin Pilot, had skipped the CLP meeting on Tuesday, the second in two days.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the party high command was forced to take the decision after Pilot and other dissident MLAs refused to heed to the party’s call to reconsider their stand against the government. The Congress party has maintained that several top party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, had reached out to Pilot since his revolt.
CM Ashok Gehlot yesterday said that removing Pilot was a “tough decision” but one that had to be taken since the members had been misled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress MLAs were hobnobbing with those who were scripting a conspiracy to destabilise the democratically elected government.
Sachin Pilot reacted to his sacking by first removing his Congress credentials from his Twitter bio and then tweeting that the truth can be troubled but not defeated. He has since denied any plan to join the BJP and said that he had worked very hard to defeat the saffron party in the Assembly elections. He further told PTI that he is yet to decide on his future course of action.