Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra on Monday afternoon accepted Ashok Gehlot cabinet’s request and ordered the state government to call for an Assembly session from Friday.
In a statement, the Rajasthan Raj Bhawan said that “Not convening the Assembly was never the intention” and raised three questions for the Ashok Gehlot government on its proposal for convening the Assembly session.
The Governor questioned if the Chief Minister wanted to bring a trust vote or not.
“Do you want to move Motion of Confidence? It is not mentioned in the proposal but you have been speaking about it in media.” Mishra aked.
Further stating that it would be difficult to call all the MLAs for the Assembly session in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor asked, “Can you consider giving a 21-day notice over the convening of Assembly session?”
The Rajasthan Governor finally questioned how social distancing would be maintaned during the Assembly session.
The Governor’s decision to accede to Gehlot’s request comes shortly after chief minister Ashok Gehlot told reporters that he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi informing him about the Governor’s “behaviour”.
The Governor, in his statement, also denied that he was delaying the summoning of the House session as claimed by the Congress.
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.
Earlier in the day, the Raj Bhawan had returned the files related to the convening of the Assembly session to the Parliamentary Affairs Department of the state.
Speaking to reporters after the Governor, for the second time, snubbed the state government’s proposal for convening the Assembly session, CM Gehlot said, “Spoke to PM yesterday over Governor’s conduct. I spoke with him regarding the letter I had written to him seven days back.”
“The Governor has once again sent us a six-page love letter,” he said and added that Governors are bound to approve when an elected government calls for an assembly session.
“PD Acharya has written an article in which it is said that this is the first time in 70 years when the Governor has refused to call the assembly session,” Gehlot added.
Meanwhile, amid the standoff between Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra and the Ashok Gehlot, three former Union Law Ministers wrote to Mishra on what they called the “constitutional impasse” and advised him to go by the government request on the matter.
The letter signed by Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and Ashwani Kumar said that “the delay in convening the special session of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha as decided and advised by the council of ministers has resulted in an avoidable constitutional impasse.”
All three Congress leaders said that they have been at the helm of the Law Ministry in the past and “students” of the Constitution, adding that as per the established legal position the Governor is “obliged to call the Assembly session in accordance with the advice of the state Cabinet”.
The Chief Minister, who first wrote to Governor Kalraj Mishra requesting an assembly session from today and protested for five hours at his residence, the Raj Nivas, to push for it last Friday, submitted a fresh proposal on Sunday and listed Coronavirus and economy as the agenda for the special session.
Earlier on Friday, refusing to accede to Ashok Gehlot’s call for an Assembly session to prove majority, the Governor had sought a reply on six points from the state government, including about the reason to call a session of the Assembly for a floor test.
The Governor had then claimed that the Ashok Gehlot government has proposed “neither a justification nor any agenda” to call the session on short notice.
Following this, the Rajasthan chief minister, in a late-night meeting on Friday, discussed the six points raised by the Governor for calling an assembly session.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, during the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting at Fairmont Hotel in Jaipur, said his party will go to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet the President, if needed and even go to the extent of staging a protest outside the Prime Minister’s residence.
Gehlot also said that the Congress will not let the BJP “succeed in their conspiracy”.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had last week 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.