Rajasthan government crisis: Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP PL Punia today claimed that Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who has revolted against CM Ashok Gehlot and pushed the government into a deep crisis, is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress leader’s claim came just as the crucial Congress Legislature Party meet got underway at the chief minister’s residence in Jaipur.
Punia, a prominent Dalit face of the Congress, is also the party in-charge of Chhattisgarh. Speaking to ANI, Punia said, “Sachin Pilot is now with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The attitude of the BJP towards the Congress is abundantly clear. We do not need any certificate from anyone. All leaders and workers are respected in the Congress party.”
Here is Punia’s statement to ANI:
#WATCH Sachin Pilot is now in Bharatiya Janata Party. Everyone knows BJP’s attitude towards Congress party. We don’t need a certificate from BJP. In Congress Party, all leaders and workers are respected: AICC general secretary in-charge of Chhattisgarh, PL Punia pic.twitter.com/kQNd77J2cK
— ANI (@ANI) July 13, 2020
Punia’s statement sparked a storm as there had been unconfirmed reports of Pilot slated to meet top BJP leader JP Nadda and Amit Shah amid indications that he may join the BJP. Gehlot, who called a meeting of the CLP today in a show of strength, had also hinted that the party would initiate action against those who fail to turn up at the meeting. A whip had also been issued in this regard to all party MLAs.
However, Punia soon took to Twitter to issue a clarification on his statement and claimed that it was a slip of tongue. Punia said that he meant to say Jyotiraditya Scindia but erroneously named Sachin Pilot in his statement to ANI.
“It is clear in the video that question was asked about Scindia ji and my reply was about Sh Scindia and by slip of tongue I took Sachin Pilots’ name instead of Scindia. Mistake is regretted,” Punia tweeted.
It is clear in the video that question was asked about Scindia ji and my reply was about Sh Scindia and by slip of tongue I took Sachin Pilots’ name instead of Scindia. Mistake is regretted https://t.co/hYws6XefKX
— P L Punia (@plpunia) July 13, 2020
The mix-up by Punia came as Sachin Pilot, peeved with the recent summons issued to him by the SOG of the Rajasthan Police, flew to Delhi with many of his supporting MLAs to Delhi. Pilot has also skipped the CLP meet called by CM Gehlot. All eyes are on the number of MLAs who turn up at the CLP meet as that would be the real test of whether the ruling government stays or goes.
Both Pilot and Gehlot were issued summons by the SOG to join the probe into a case of alleged attempts of horse-trading to bring down the government The FIR into the case also mentions a “fight” between Pilot and Gehlot over chief ministership. Pilot and his supporters have claimed that the summons issued to him was an insult and calling the CM to join the probe just an eyewash.