Jaipur- Amid the fast-paced political developments in Rajasthan, Food Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas on Sunday said democracy runs on numbers and whoever has the support of MLAs will be the state’s next chief minister.
He also said that Congress MLAs reaching the assembly speaker’s house should not be seen as a rebellion by the party high command.
High drama unfolded in Rajasthan as a group of Congress MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot reached Speaker C P Joshi’s residence earlier on Sunday to submit their resignation ahead of a legislature party meeting which was called to decide on his successor.
The development suggested a worsening power struggle between the chief minister and Sachin Pilot, who was tipped to be Gehlot’s replacement after he declared his candidature for the Congress president’s post.
The group of MLAs earlier held a meeting at Minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence, which was seen as an attempt to thwart the possibility of Pilot being made the next chief minister.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Khachariyawas said the Congress leadership should not see the decision of party MLAs to go to the assembly speaker’s house as a rebellion.
“This should not be seen as a rebellion against the high command. We can give our life for the high command. This is about our Congress family,” he said.
On Gehlot’s successor, Khachariyawas said, “As of now Gehlot is the chief minister. In a democracy, an election is decided by counting votes. Democracy runs on numbers, whoever has the support of MLAs of Rajasthan will be the leader.”
Khachariyawas also accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the Congress-led government.
“(During the meeting at Dhariwal’s residence) the MLAs said that the BJP’s conspiracy will not be successful. The people of the BJP have been trying to destabilise the government for the last four years. The BJP wants to topple the Rajasthan government,” he charged.
Gehlot and Pilot were at loggerheads for the chief minister’s post soon after the Congress won the Assembly elections in December 2018. The high command then chose Gehlot as the chief minister for the third time while Pilot was made his deputy.
In July 2020, Pilot along with 18 party MLAs rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership.
Earlier in the day, Gehlot said a one-line resolution stating all Congress legislators have full faith in the party president’s decision on his successor is likely to be passed during the legislature party meeting.
The meeting, however, did not take place.