Congress's Easy Rajya Sabha Wins In Rajasthan Uncover A Divide

4 months ago 26
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Congress's Easy Rajya Sabha Wins In Rajasthan Uncover A Divide

Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot (centre) before voting in the Rajya Sabha election.

Jaipur:

The Congress has won two seats in the Rajya Sabha elections in Rajasthan and won them convincingly. KC Venugopal got 64 votes and the party's second candidate Neeraj Dangi got 59 votes. That's a total of 123 votes which means not a single vote from the ruling party went awry. In fact, the Congress put together more than the requisite number of 51 first preference votes to get their candidates elected.

It was something that Sachin Pilot, the Congress president in Rajasthan, had maintained all along that the party in the state would make sure both Congress candidates are elected comfortably to the upper house. He had also dismissed allegations of horse trading as "rumours".

But Mr Pilot's confidence was completely at odds with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's statements.

Mr Gehlot went on record to say the BJP was trying to do in Rajasthan what they had done in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The chief whip of the party Mahesh Joshi put these allegations into writing and a formal complaint was lodged with the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Special Operations Group of the Rajasthan Police.

The matter is still under investigation as to which MLAs were being lured and with what sums of money.

With this pre-emptive strike, Mr Gehlot then moved his MLAs to a resort outside Jaipur and practically camped there with the MLAs, even overseeing practice sessions and training on how to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.

It appears to have paid off.

On the other hand, the BJP, which queered the pitch by putting up a second candidate despite not having the numbers, managed to get only one candidate elected - Rajendra Gehlot with 54 votes. Its second candidate Onkar Singh Lakhawat got only 21 votes. One of the BJP votes was rejected on technical grounds.

But while allegations of horse-trading now appear to be unfounded, the BJP has managed to stir up political waters in Rajasthan.

BJP chief in Rajasthan Satish Punia has repeatedly asked Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to prove the allegations of horse-trading. The BJP has also pointed to the differing narrative emerging from within the Congress.

The divergent views of Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot on allegations of an "Operation Kamal" - a term used to refer to the Karnataka BJP's alleged plan of engineering defections in 2008 - in Rajasthan have once again exposed the differences between the two leaders.

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