Not Told Assembly Session Agenda Rajasthan Governor Takes On Congress ...

Jaipur : 

Bombarded by the Congress for seemingly helping former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's revolt against the Ashok Gehlot government by stalling an assembly session, Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra on Friday said that he will go by the constitution only.

Claiming that Mr Gehlot had not given any "justification" or "agenda" for calling the session on such a short notice, the governor said he needed the state government's response on few points before making any announcement.

Under the normal process, a 21-day notice is required for the session to be called, Mr Mishra said in a statement.

"The date on which the assembly session is to be convened is not mentioned in the cabinet note and no approval has been given by the cabinet for the same," he said.

The statement also said the state government should ensure freedom and free movement of all the MLAs.

It asked the government to take note of the COVID-19 crisis and suggest how the session should be held given the current situation.

The statement came as Congress MLAs loyal to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a five-hour sit-in at the Governor's House, Raj Bhawan, to press for an assembly session, in a dramatic show of strength hours after the Pilot Camp secured protection for now from disqualification from the house.

The Congress said it ended the protest following an assurance from the governor that he will abide by Article 174 of the constitution, after getting the clarifications from the Chief Minister.

The state cabinet then met late at night for two-and-a-half hours, in a meeting that went on well past midnight, and discussed the six points raised by the Governor. The cabinet passed a proposal to call the assembly session, which will be sent to the Governor in the morning. It was decided in the cabinet meeting that the agenda of the assembly session will be coronavirus and the economic crisis, sources said.

Ashok Gehlot, 69, is going all out for a test of strength after Sachin Pilot and other Congress rebels threatening his government scored a reprieve from the Rajasthan High Court on Friday.

There can be no action for now on disqualification notices sent to the rebels last week, the court said. This means the Speaker cannot take any action against the rebels until the larger constitutional question of his powers is decided. That question will be taken up by the Supreme Court on Monday.

Despite the legal setbacks, Mr Gehlot believes he has the numbers to retain power if he faces a trust vote now. If he does win, there cannot be any vote for the next six months.

The rules say the rebels must follow the party whip in the assembly or risk being disqualified. Despite the court-ordered status quo, the rebels can be disqualified if they vote against their own party. But their vote will still count.

The Congress has a narrow lead over the opposition and is only one past the majority mark of 101 in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. Team Pilot claims the support of 30 MLAs, but so far, the evidence points to only 19. The BJP has 72. Including smaller parties and independent members, the opposition has 97 at the moment.

Mr Gehlot has said he expected some of the dissident MLAs to return to the fold.

If Team Pilot is disqualified, it will help the Chief Minister by bringing the majority mark down. But if they win the case to vote as Congress MLAs, they can endanger the government.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi led a battery of party leaders who put the governor in their crosshairs for not calling an assembly session.

"The country is ruled in accordance with the law and constitution. Governments are formed and run based on people's mandate. BJP's conspiracy to topple the Rajasthan government is clear. This is an insult to 8 crore people of Rajasthan. The governor must call assembly session so that the truth comes before the country," Mr Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.

Artical - Akash Yadav