Have majority, some rebel Congress MLAs wish to return but being held captive: Ashok Gehlot

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Have majority, some rebel Congress MLAs wish to return but being held captive: Ashok Gehlot


NEW DELHI: Rajasthan chief minister

Ashok Gehlot

says the Congress and its allies have a majority in the assembly and a section of its MLAs are anxious to return to the party fold but are being held captive in a hotel in Haryana.

All

constitutional

and legal options are open before the state government and will be resorted to “as and when necessary”, the chief minister told PTI as uncertainty persists over the future of his government following a rebellion by his now sacked deputy

Sachin Pilot

.

“I want to repeat that we have a majority of the MLAs and even our adversaries know this. We will never shy away from resorting to democratic and constitutional processes in this regard and will take decisions at the right time,” Gehlot said to a question on when he will call an assembly session.

Asserting that his government has a complete majority of the Congress and its allies in the 200-member state assembly, Gehlot said, “Everyone is aware that a small section of our MLAs have been held captive in a hotel outside the state under the watch of bouncers and police of other states.”

He added that he has learnt the MLAs want to “break free of their captivity” and go along with the government.

“This will become evident in some time,” he said when asked whether the Rajasthan Congress is in touch with MLAs in the Pilot camp.

The Rajasthan speaker had disqualified the 19 dissident MLAs, who challenged it in the high court.

On Friday, the court ordered status quo and said there will be no action for now on the disqualification notices against the dissident MLAs. Any high court order will be subject to the outcome of a petition by the Rajasthan speaker that the Supreme Court is now hearing.

The chief minister sounded dismissive of Pilot and purported attempts to bring him back to the Congress fold, saying the party leadership had been anguished by his anti-Congress activities.

“Only the party leadership can give this information. The leadership is bound to be anguished by ongoing anti-party activities by some of our MLAs under the leadership of Sachin Pilot. We will accept the high command’s decision in this matter,” Gehlot said when asked if Congress leaders

Rahul Gandhi

and

Priyanka Gandhi

had spoken to him about Pilot’s return.

He also noted that any decision on Pilot would depend on the high command’s approach.

Responding to a question on what would be his condition if Pilot wants to return, he said, “This would depend on his future moves, his activities and the decision of Congress high command.”

The chief minister was also noncommittal when asked if he regretted the use of harsh words like “nikamma” and “nakaara” for Pilot. He said his words were borne of his pain following the recent developments involving a conspiracy against the party and “blatant disregard” of discipline and basic courtesies.

The chief minister also reiterated his allegation that top BJP leaders were involved in the conspi

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