In the ongoing Rajasthan Assembly session on Friday, Sachin Pilot could be seen sitting closer to the opposition benches than the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
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 Ashok 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, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted that truth would emerge victorious.
As the Legislative Assembly session begins today, It would be the victory of the people of #Rajasthan and the unity of our Congress MLAs, it would be a victory of truth: Satyamev Jayate.
" Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) August 14, 2020
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.
" ANI (@ANI) August 14, 2020
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:
I thank Smt Sonia Ji, @RahulGandhi Ji, @priyankagandhi Ji & @INCIndia leaders for noting & addressing our grievances.I stand firm in my belief & will continue working for a better India, to deliver on promises made to the people of Rajasthan & protect democratic values we cherish pic.twitter.com/kzS4Qi1rnm
" Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) August 10, 2020
With inputs from agencies