With the Rajasthan High Court ordering a status quo in the disqualification case against the Sachin Pilot camp and the Governor declining to convene an emergency Assembly session, the Ashok Gehlot government has plunged into a deeper political crisis.
After Governor Kalraj Mishra refused to accede to Ashok Gehlot’s call for an Assembly session to prove his government’s majority, the Rajasthan chief minister, in a late-night meeting on Friday, discussed the six points raised by the Governor for calling an assembly session.
The meeting was held at the chief minister’s residence which lasted for nearly two and a half hours.
“Discussions over the points given by the governor with regards to calling the assembly sessions were held in the meeting,” sources were quoted as saying by PTI.
The Governor had earlier sought a reply on the six points from the state government, including about the reason to call a session of the Assembly for a floor test.
The Cabinet note to the governor is likely to be forwarded on Saturday, the sources said.
The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government, which is facing a political crisis after rebellion by 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including rebel party leader Sachin Pilot, wants to hold the assembly session to prove its majority.
After Congress MLAs loyal to Gehlot on Friday held a five-hour sit-in at the Raj Bhawan to press for an assembly session, the governor assured that he will go by the constitutional provisions on summoning an assembly session.
Later, a statement from the Raj Bhawan said the governor has sought a clarification on the six points.
Earlier on Friday, shortly after the Rajasthan High Court ordered the Speaker to maintain status quo in the disqualification case against Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that the Governor was not giving directions to call the Assembly session because he was “under pressure from the top” to stall any test of strength.
Speaking to reporters, Gehlot said that he had a telephonic conversation with Governor Kalraj Mishra Thursday evening wherein, he requested him to take a decision on convening an Assembly session.
“We requested him to call a session last evening and we waited all night, but there was no response. It is beyond comprehension what kind of forces would compel him to delay such a simple process,” the chief minister said.
Since the Governor had not responded to the plea, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said he and the Congress MLAs supporting him will directly make a collective request at Raj Bhawan.
“We are going to the Governor to request him to not come under pressure. The people of Rajasthan are with us. If the masses surround the Raj Bhawan, we will not be responsible,” he told reporters ahead of the MLAs’ sit-in.
The high court, in a huge setback for the Congress government, accepted team Pilot’s eleventh-hour request to add Centre as a party in the disqualification case.
Friday’s order came as the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Rajasthan Speaker’s petition to interfere in the High Court’s order to defer anti-defection proceedings against former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel Congress MLAs, saying that “the voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be suppressed”.
The top court concluded its hearing saying that the Rajasthan High Court can pass orders on rebel MLAs plea against disqualification notice from the Speaker.
After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on July 14, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.
On the same day, the Speaker served them disqualification notices.