Media baron Subhash Chandra, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-backed independent candidate contesting the Rajya Sabha election from Rajasthan, claimed on Tuesday, 7 June, that four Congress MLAs were supporting him, and that eight would "cross-vote" in his favour.
He said that the MLAs were "secretly in touch with me and I'm going to win the Rajya Sabha election," while addressing the press in Jaipur. However, he did not mention any names.
Chandra, who is the chairperson of the Essel Group, also said that he had a message for Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot, who has long been aspiring for the chief minister's post, currently held by Ashok Gehlot.
He said that Pilot had an opportunity as a "young and popular leader to take revenge or send a message."
He added that if Pilot "misses this opportunity, he will not be able to become chief minister till 2028."
'Laughable': Sachin Pilot on Chandra's Comments
Pilot, however, dismissed Chandra's comments as "laughable."
"He has been fooled by the BJP into contesting and he will be humiliated," the Congress leader was quoted as saying by NDTV.
"Subhash ji, this is not a TV series or entertainment. This is a serious business," Pilot added.
The Congress leader also said that the party had more than what was required to win the election.
Urging Chandra to reveal the names of the four Congress leaders who had decided to vote for him, Pilot said that every single MLA had to show their votes, and thus there was no question of an MLA cross-voting.
Pilot also said that no matter how many MLAs were supporting Chandra, the Congress and all independents were "together." "We need 123 and we have way more," he said, as per NDTV.
Calling Chandra "desperate," Pilot also said that such "clever manoeuvering" would not yield any results.
Elections to the upper house of Parliament are due to take place on 10 June. The results will be announced on the same day.
In the 200-member Assembly of Rajasthan, the Congress has 108 MLAs, followed by the BJP with 71, 13 independent candidates, three Rashtriya Loktantrik Party legislators, two each of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party, and one from the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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