As Rajasthan politics heats up over Congress Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot being summoned by the police of his own government, his old party colleague turned BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has added to the intra-Congress tussle by saying that Pilot is being “persecuted” by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
In a tweet that has intensified speculation about the BJP’s next move, Scindia said, “Sad to see my erstwhile colleague, Sachin Pilot, too being sidelined and persecuted by Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. Shows that talent and capability find little credence in the Congress.”
Scindia, who too was kept out of power ever since the party’s victory in the 2018 Madhya Pradesh elections, recently jumped ship to the BJP along with his followers, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the state.
Both Scindia and Pilot have worked closely in the party as junior ministers in the UPA government.
Now after Gehlot alleging that the BJP is trying to repeat a MP-like coup in Rajasthan with an upset Pilot and a slew of pro-Pilot MLAs camping in the national capital, Scindia’s tweet saying Pilot is being “persecuted” has forced the Congress to seriously work on the number games.
The Congress’ strength in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly is 102, while its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has one MLA. After six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs joined the Congress, the ruling party’s score in the House climbed up to 108. Add to that the support of 13 Independents, and 2 Bharatiya Tribal Party and two CPI-M MLAs, the party’s tally stands at 125.
Meanwhile, the BJP has 72 MLAs, plus 3 lawmakers from alliance partner Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP).
Party sources said that around 20-25 MLAs could reportedly back Pilot if he leaves the party and joins the BJP. In that case, the Congress’ numbers will fall below 100, while the BJP might touch 100-figure mark.
Sources said that Gehlot has spoken to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan party affairs in-charge Avinash Pandey, and Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of the developments in his state.
Barely months ago, then a Congress leader, Scindia had reached the national capital after being upset with Kamal Nath for not ceding him any political ground in the state, before joining the BJP along with his followers.
Now, another upset Congress leader is camping in Delhi with his followers. Scindia’s tweet will surely give the grand old party its deja vu moment.
Fuel prices hold for a week despite firm global oil rates
Petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the seventh consecutive day on Thursday under the daily price revision mechanism followed by oil marketing companies, thus providing further relief to consumers.
The pump price of petrol in Delhi, which fell to Rs 103.97 a litre at 6 a.m. last week on Thursday from the previous day’s level of Rs 110.04 a litre, remained at the same level. The diesel prices also remained unchanged in the capital at Rs 86.67 a litre.
In the financial capital Mumbai, petrol continued to be priced at Rs 109.98 a litre and diesel Rs 94.14 a litre.
Prices also remained static on Wednesday in Kolkata where the price of petrol reduced by Rs 5.82 to Rs 104.67 per litre and that of diesel by Rs 11.77 to Rs 89.79 per litre last week.
Petrol price in Chennai also remained at Rs 101.40 per litre and diesel Rs 91.43 per litre.
Across the country as well, the price of fuel largely remained unchanged on Thursday but the retail rates varied depending on the level of local taxes.
After softening, the global crude prices have again touched a three-year high level of over $85 a barrel now. The rise in US inventory has pushed down crude prices a bit but OPEC+ decision on only gradual increase in production in December could push up crude prices further. This could put pressure on oil companies to revise fuel prices upwards again.
Before price cuts and pause, diesel prices have increased 30 out of the last 48 days taking up its retail price by Rs 9.90 per litre in Delhi.
Petrol prices have also risen on 28 of the previous 44 days taking up the pump price by Rs 8.85 per litre.
Since January 1, petrol and diesel prices have risen by more than Rs 26 a litre before the duty cuts.
The excise duty cut by the Centre last week was the first such exercise since the onset of Covid pandemic. In fact, the government had revised excise duty on petrol and diesel sharply in March and again in May last year to mobilise additional resources for Covid relief measures.
The excise duty was raised by Rs 13 and Rs 16 per litre on petrol and diesel between March 2020 and May 2020 and was standing high at Rs 31.8 on diesel and Rs 32.9 per litre on petrol before finally the centre decided on duty cut.
Former Himachal minister G.S Bali passes away at 67
Senior Congress leader and former Himachal Pradesh minister Gurmukh Singh Bali passed away on Saturday after a prolonged illness. He was 67.
The four-time legislator died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, his son Raghubir Singh Bali posted on his Facebook page.
Another FIR in Rajasthan for celebrating Pak win in T20 match
A couple of days after a school teacher was arrested and granted bail for celebrating Pakistan’s victory in a T20 World Cup match, an FIR has been lodged against a person of Banswara on similar charges.
He too had updated his status on social media congratulating Pakistan for its win in the T20 World Cup against India on October 24.
The FIR was registered on Thursday after one Amit Singh, resident of Kushalgarh, filed a written complaint against Armaan of the same area.
The complaint said that the ‘message was going viral since the morning of October 25, from an Instagram account arman.sk90 which has a status “Congratulations” Pakistan’.
The complainant alleged that another message was also going viral on social media which says ‘Don’t Judge a Book by its cover-Babar Azam’, adding that such messages were disturbing the national sentiments and national harmony too.
In Kushalgarh, the Rajasthan Police have registered a case in the matter and further investigations are on, said officials.
Two people have also been booked in Jodhpur for celebrating Pakistan’s victory in the same match.
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