New Delhi: A day after the entire legislative party of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) jumped ship to officially join the Congress, a war of words broke out between former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot over the issue. The move is significant as it comes in the backdrop of the Gehlot-led government having a thin majority in the state and the shift will bolster the party’s strength in the assembly.
“The Congress government in Rajasthan by splitting BSP MLAs has once again given a proof of it being untrustworthy and cheaters. This is cheating against the BSP movement which has happened again when the BSP was already giving unconditional outside support to the Congress government," Mayawati said in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
This is the second time since 2009 when six MLAs of BSP had moved sides to join the Congress. Gehlot was the chief minister then too.
“Congress always hurts those parties which supports them instead of fighting those parties and organizations which are against them," she added.
Six BSP MLAs—Rajendra Singh Gudha, Jogendra Singh Awana, Wajib Ali, Lakhan Singh Meena, Sandeep Yadav and Deepchand—met Rajasthan assembly speaker C P Joshi late Monday and submitted a letter to him communicating their decision to join Congress.
The anti-defection law does not apply in this case as the entire legislative party has changed sides.
Responding to Mayawati’s allegations, Gehlot told news agency ANI: “Such reaction from her is expected. MLAs considered the situation in state & feelings of the people, that is why they joined us, we did not put any pressure on them."
There are 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan out of which two are currently vacant. Congress has 100 seats (before BSP MLAs joined), along with ally Rashtriya Lok Dal with one seat and outside support of 12 out of 13 independents. The Congress’ fresh tally in the assembly is now 106.