In a big jolt to Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) in Rajasthan, all of its six MLAs have joined the Congress.
With this merger, the Congress now has 106 seats in the 200-seated Assembly.
The developments happened late Monday night when the six MLAs met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at 9.30 p.m., and then Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi to whom the letter offering to join the Congress was submitted. Joshi gave his approval and in the night only, all the six MLAs formally joined the Congress.
These MLAs include Rajendra Guda from Udaipurvati.
Earlier, the BSP was supporting the Congress from outside.
However, the BSP state president Seetaram Meghwal and state-in-charge Dharamveer Ashok expressed ignorance to the entire development.
“Had we known it, we would have never allowed this to happen,” they said.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said: “The decision of the six MLAs should be welcomed as they have clean intentions. We shall work together to take Rajasthan on the path of development.”
C.P. Joshi said: “We received a letter of merger from these six MLAs and there is no legal challenge in the merger.”
However, BJP state President Satish Poonia said that the entire development shows insecurity of Gehlot as Congress had a thin majority and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot was criticising his own government on the law and order situation, indirectly questioning the Chief Minister’s working style as he holds the home portfolio.
Sources confirmed that this merger would help the Congress in the ensuing Panchayat and Civic elections. But at the same time, there are apprehensions that this may lead to infighting within the Congress as the BSP leaders have been promised plush positions which some senior Congress leaders have been hoping to get.
The State Assembly now has — 106 Congress MLAs, 72 BJP MLAs, 13 Independents, 2 Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), 2 CPI(M), 1 Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and 2 Rashtriya Loktankrit Party (RLP). Two seats are vacant presently as the MLAs became MPs and by-polls are awaited.