The Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan won the vote of confidence in the state Assembly on Friday, over a month after a rebellion by former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs put the survival of the government at risk.
In the confidence motion moved in the House on Friday, the Gehlot government won by voice vote, reports said. After the conclusion of the motion, the Assembly was adjourned. It will reconvene on 21 August.
"The vote of confidence which was brought by the government has been passed with a very good majority today in the Rajasthan Assembly. Despite various attempts by the Opposition, the result is in favour of the government," Pilot was quoted as saying soon after the Assembly was adjourned.
"This has put a full stop to all the suspicions that were rising. A roadmap has been prepared for all the issues that were being raised. I have complete faith that the roadmap will be announced timely," he added.
Will not let govt collapse: Gehlot
Addressing the MLAs ahead of the vote, Gehlot had accused the BJP of "conspiring" to topple the Congress government in the state.
Addressing BJP leader Gulab Chand Karatia, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Gehlot said, "I will not let the Rajasthan government collapse at any cost."
"I am 69 years old. I have been in politics for 50 years. I have been a Union minister, chief minister because of this democracy. I am worried for this democracy. Why are you not?" he added.
The Times of India quoted Gehlot as saying that the Opposition's "mission" was to take down the government "even during a pandemic".
"What you did in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Manipur. You have no concern over whether democracy is in danger," he added.
According to the report, Gehlot also said that "he is satisfied with the performance of MLAs and the public has liked the work done by them".
But the cracks remain?
However, despite the fact that Congress has retained power in Rajasthan, the cracks in the party's leadership was apparent in the Assembly.
Pilot, who was sacked as the state's deputy chief minister following a rebellion, used to sit next to Gehlot. He was seated in the second row, next to independent MLA Sanyam Lodha and closer to the Opposition benches.
Speaking about his changed seat in the House, after the adjournment he said, "Earlier, I was part of the government, but now I am not. It is not important where one sits, but what is in the hearts and minds of people. As far as the seating pattern is considered, it is decided by speaker and party, and I don't want to comment on it."
Pilot, who was sacked as the state's deputy chief minister following a rebellion, used to sit next to Gehlot. He is now seated in the second row, next to independent MLA Sanyam Lodha.
"When I came to the house and found that my seat had been changed, I was wondering why. When I sat there (pointing to the government benches), I was safe. Now I am next to the opposition. Then I realized I have been sent to the sarhad (border). That is because only the bravest and most powerful warrior is sent to the border," said Pilot, who dropped his month-long revolt against the chief minister earlier this week.
"During this debate, many things will be said, much will be revealed. But whatever we had to say or do, me and my other friends, we have received treatment. We have consulted a doctor in Delhi and we are back now," said Pilot alluding to the Congress leadership's intervention in Rajasthan.
He added that he was ready to face the "fire" at the frontline. "We are ready and armed for the onslaught with our armour, our shield and our weapons," he said amid loud desk-thumping.
The Gehlot-led Congress government moved a vote of confidence to prove its majority in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. Owing to the heavy rainfall and water-logging, the Assembly session, which was earlier scheduled at 11 am, was adjourned to 1 pm.
Minutes before the House convened, Gehlot tweeted that truth would emerge victorious.
The decision on holding a trust vote was taken soon after the BJP said it will seek a no-confidence motion against the Congress government in the special Assembly session.
The chief minister chaired a Congress legislature party (CLP) meeting at his residence on Thursday, where the decision to move the vote of confidence was taken. A handshake on Thursday evening between Gehlot and Pilot, who had rebelled against the chief minister over his style of functioning in July, reaffirmed the truce secured by the Congress leadership.
Gehlot on Thursday said that he could have proved his majority even without the support of Pilot and 18 of his supporters, but that would not have given him happiness.
"We would have gone for a floor test without some of our friends (the rebel MLAs) and perhaps the government would have been saved, but honestly, hamare dil mein woh khushi nahin hoti (we wouldn't have been happy deep inside). Hamare hamare hi hote hain, paraye paraye hi hote hain (our dear ones are our own, outsiders are outsiders). Consider it a bad dream which is over, the entire family is together now," the chief minister said.
Pilot was also present at the CLP meeting on Thursday and both the leaders shook hands and flashed victory signs. Meanwhile, the BJP said that the truce between the two factions was temporary and announced it will move a no-confidence motion in the state Assembly.
"This government won't last long," former chief minister and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje had said on Thursday.
"Some people are spreading news about discord in the BJP. I would like to tell them that BJP is a family, and we are all pledged and united to take it forward. Rajmataji had taught me that the party in which I am a worker, for it the nation is supreme, and I am following in her footsteps," Raje also met Governor Kalraj Mishra at the Raj Bhavan.
With the return of Pilot and other rebel leaders, the Congress now has 125 legislators, including the Speaker. In the 200-member House, where the majority mark is 101, the Congress also appears to have the support of all 13 Independent candidates.
On the other hand, the BJP (72) and its ally Rashtriya Loktrantrik Party (3) have a total of 75 seats.
On 11 August, Pilot along with his supporting MLAs attended a meeting with a three-member committee led by Congress General Secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and KC Venugopal and senior party leader Ahmed Patel to address the issues raised by Pilot and the rebel legislators.
He thanked Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi for noting and addressing his and 'the aggrieved" MLAs grievances, stating that he will continue working for a better India to deliver on promises made to the people of Rajasthan.
Pilot had tweeted:
With inputs from agencies