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Ashok Gehlot wins trust vote in Rajasthan Assembly

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday comfortably won a trust vote in the Assembly, after a month of infighting in the Congress party that brought his government on the brink of collapse.

In a House of 200, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the support of Independents and allies while the BJP has 72 members.

Earlier on Thursday, Gehlot met his former deputy Sachin Pilot whose rebellion had caused a crisis in the Congress government in the state. “The vote of confidence which was brought by the govt 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 said outside the assembly.

The Motion of Confidence was moved in the Assembly by Rajasthan`s Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal who also launched an attack on BJP`s alleged attempts to buy Congress MLAs.

Speaker Dr CP Joshi has accepted the proposal for discussion and allotted three hours time for the debate. Dhariwal also took a jibe at Gajendra Shekhawat in a veiled reference and claimed he was “dreaming of becoming the next Chief Minister of Rajasthan.”

Responding to the criticism, Deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore said, “the public has been seeing the drama unfold in Rajasthan over the past one month. The actors, heroes, villains are all from one party. People of Rajasthan bore the brunt of factionalism within the party. Gehlot himself said for 1.5 years he did not talk to his deputy Chief Minister. How can the government function smoothly like this? How can a party indulge in `Elephant trading` level allegations of horse-trading at us? Did you not surreptitiously affect the merger of all BSP MLAs?”

The assembly session comes just days after the top leaders of Congress announced the return of Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs to the party-fold. Last month, Sachin Pilot was removed as Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress chief after his differences with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot came out in open triggering a political crisis in the state. Pilot was reportedly miffed after the SOG sent him a notice to record his statement in a case of alleged poaching of Congress MLAs in the state. However, this apparently seems to have ended now as Pilot has agreed to work for the party after a meeting with the top Congress leadership.