A party with two MLAs has threatened to withdraw support from the congressional government in Rajasthan, citing treason from its main ally. While the possible departure of the Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) will not affect the majority of state government, what is significant is how rivals Congress and BJP came together to prevent the small party from taking over a district-level board.
The BTP’s resentment revolves around recent polls to elect members to local bodies at the district and village levels.
The party gained 13 members in Dungarpur Zila (district) Parishad but was unable to form the 27-member board. The majority is 14. Congress should have backed it, says the BTP.
Instead, Congress supported the BJP and independents to form the board, preventing the BTP from doing so.
“The BJP-Congress is one. BTP will withdraw support from the Rajasthan government,” BTP founder Chhotubhai Vasava tweeted.
The BJP had eight members and Congress six, both far outnumbered by the BTP. The two parties supported two independents, rebels from each party.
Their joint movement reveals their concern that the BTP is improving its inter-tribal base, traditionally a Congressional vote base. The tribal party has a solid base in southern Rajasthan.
The BTP feels especially misled by its support for the congressional government of Ashok Gehlot when it faced the Sachin Pilot rebellion earlier this year.
While Congress was keeping an eye on their herd at a resort in Jaipur, the two BTP MLAs released a video in which the police prevented them from leaving the city.
However, they soon appeared in photos with Mr. Gehlot and his MLAs, strengthening their numbers.
If the two MLAs withdraw, Congress will still have a comfortable majority; In the 200-member assembly, Congress has 106 MLAs and the support of 12 independents.
BTP chief Chhotubhai Vasava helped Congressional Leader Ahmed Patel get ahead in the highly controversial 2017 Rajya Sabha election. At that time, he was still a member of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United. He formed the BTP this year.