The upheaval in Rajasthan politics has acquired a new dimension with a couple of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders opening up to the idea of welcoming Sachin Pilot into the saffron fold after he was stripped off his status as chief of the Congress party in the state and the deputy chief minister earlier in the day.
Agencies quoted two BJP leaders, who indicated the party should not have a problem in welcoming Pilot with open arms, if the possibility arises.
“If anybody with a mass base joins the BJP or any political party, everybody welcomes him. Expressing trust in our ideology, if anybody joins us we will welcome him with open arms. This is a normal procedure,” Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was quoted as having told the PTI.
P P Chaudhary, another BJP leader, who was sympathetic towards Pilot, however, added that the national leadership will ultimately decide if such a union was possible.
“So many people joining Sachin is a big thing, and I believe more will join him. BJP’s doors are open for everybody if he believes in our ideology. If Sachin Pilot joins us, I don’t think there will be any problem. Our national leadership, though, will take the final call,” PTI quoted Chaudhary as saying.
A leader aware of developments said the seniors BJP leaders including Vasundhara Raje will be holding discussions over the current political situation in the state after the virtual split in the state congress following Pilot’s sacking as party chief and deputy chief minister.
The party had earlier today indicated that it was keenly watching the unfolding of the political situation in Rajasthan and believed that it was time for the Gehlot government to go after the rebellion of nearly 16 MLAs loyal to Sachin Pilot.
While CM Ashok Gehlot has accused Pilot of falling into BJP’s alleged trap laid out to destabilizing the government, the BJP has sought to distance itself from the entire episode, calling it a “film” that had been in planning for the last 6 months and was “directed, produced, and acted in” by Ashok Gehlot himself, who, it claimed had “successfully plotted” Sachin Pilot’s “ouster” from the party.
Earlier a BJP leader in Delhi, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had said that the party will not seek a floor test unless it is confident that both Gehlot and Pilot factions are falling short of numbers.
While some BJP leaders claimed the party had neither formally contacted Pilot nor had been approached by him, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had suggested that the party was not averse to opening doors to the young leader, who is credited with playing a big hand in Congress’ victory in the assembly polls.
Another BJP leader Baijayant Jay Panda tweeted about “every experienced pilot” being aware of an “alternate air strip to land” in the event of technical problems, triggering a fresh round of speculations.
While it has been reported that Sachin has ruled out joining the BJP and could instead be considering floating a regional outfit, he has not made any formal announcement of his plans yet. However, it is learnt that he may address the press tomorrow morning at 10, according to a person close to him.
While the Congress currently claims to have enough numbers to save the government, the difference between winning and loosing could be wafer thin. In a 200-member house, Congress has 107 MLAs and the BJP 72, with Gehlot claiming support of several independent and other parties’ MLAs as well. However, Pilot’s camp has claimed that he enjoys support of around 30 MLAs and that could if true could prove to be a decisive factor.