Two MLAs of a regional party that withdrew support from the Congress government in Rajasthan have announced they will back the administration now, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Saturday.
“Both MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) announced their support to the government after meeting their state executive officials and discussing with their demands,” Mr Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.
He was seen receiving a letter of support from the MLAs in photos shared by his office.
The two MLAs had become an interesting sidelight in the political drama over Deputy Chief Sachin Pilot’s revolt this week when they posted a video on social media, which went viral, alleging that they were being held against their wishes at the luxury hotel where Mr Gehlot has deposited Congress MLAs to ensure they are not flipped.
Losing the two MLAs would have brought down numbers for the Chief Minister as the Congress struggled to keep its flock protected from Sachin Pilot’s rebel camp.
Mr Pilot has claimed that he has 30 MLAs who are willing to walk with him if needed from the government in Rajasthan – an amount enough to bring down the government of Mr Gehlot. But Mr Gehlot says he has 109 MLAs loyal to him – pushing him just over the 101 mark that he needs to remain Chief Minister.
With such a narrow lead, every MLA counts. One of the BTP MLAs, Rajkumar, had told NDTV on Thursday that they remain in Rajasthan, are not part of Team Pilot, and plan to meet Mr Gehlot “to discuss certain issues.”
BTP chief Mahesh Bhai Vasava wrote to his MLAs on Monday saying the party should stay neutral in case of a floor test in the assembly. The MLAs were asked to skip any floor test altogether.
The two legislators had then said they were with Ashok Gehlot. “There is some confusion. Right now we are with the government. But we will take a final decision after talking to our leaders,” they had told NDTV.