New Delhi, Jul 12 (PTI) As the Congress grappled with factionalism in Rajasthan, its general secretary in-charge for the state Avinash Pande on Sunday said that all party MLAs were in touch with him and the government will complete its term.
Pande also wondered who were the MLAs who are purported to have sided with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.
Pilot, who has been engaged in a power tussle with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, continues to be incommunicado, leading to anxiety in the state unit.
Pande told PTI that he had not spoken to Pilot for the last two days and had left a message with him.
'All Congress MLAs are in touch with me and the government in Rajasthan is stable and will last its full term,' he said.
The Congress general secretary said party chief Sonia Gandhi has been updated on developments in Rajasthan.
'I have not talked to Pilot for the last two days and I'm trying to reach out to him. I have left messages for him,' he told PTI.
Calls and messages to Pilot went unanswered.
Sources said a few MLAs loyal to him are currently camping in the national capital, and some of them were lodged in a resort near Gurgaon.
Pande also said that everyone should cooperate in the investigation being carried out by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police.
The SOG had registered an FIR based on tapped phone conversation between two men over alleged attempts to bribe Congress MLAs to topple the Gehlot government.
'Everyone should cooperate with Rajasthan SOG. There is no harm in joining the probe,' he said.
Pande alleged that the BJP is trying to destabilise the Congress government in Rajasthan.
'Their attempt is to create an atmosphere of uncertainty in Rajasthan. But, they will not succeed in their attempts,' he noted.
A power struggle between Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, which has been on since the Congress' central leadership picked the senior leader for the chief minister's post, appears to have deepened with those in Pilot's camp claiming that there have been repeated attempts to undermine his authority.
The latest flashpoint between the two is a notice issued to Pilot by the Rajasthan police's Special Operation Group in the case related to alleged attempts to bribe Congress MLAs to switch sides in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Gehlot, however, has pointed out that a similar notice has been sent to him, the government's chief whip as well as some ministers.
Gehlot had on Saturday accused the opposition BJP of trying to topple his government by offering legislators large sums of money and said his administration is not just stable but will complete its five-year term.
The BJP had asked Gehlot to prove his allegation of horse-trading or quit politics, and claimed he was targeting the opposition party as he was unable to check the infighting in the state Congress.
The Congress has sent its senior leaders Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala as central observers to Jaipur to avert a crisis as it faces factionalism in Rajasthan.
The two leaders along with party general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Congress Avinash Pande will be reaching Jaipur this evening and will hold discussions with party MLAs, sources said.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has summoned a meeting tonight of Congress MLAs.
The sources said that around 19 Congress MLAs are said to be siding with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and are incommunicado.
The Congress is trying to save its government in Rajasthan, which faces a rebellion from within.
Pilot is miffed with Gehlot over the notice sent to him by the state police investigating the alleged horse-trading of Congress MLAs.
The chief minister has blamed the BJP for trying to topple his government, a charge the BJP has denied. PTI SKC RT