Gehlot: Not one to keep mum.

Gehlot: Not one to keep mum.

Finally Governor blinks; gives nod to assembly session from Aug 14

Amid Rajasthan political crisis, rebel Pilot wishes Speaker, PCC chief; Cong surprised

Agency Report | Jaipur | 29 July, 2020 | 11:20 PM

After rejecting the state government's proposal to call a special assembly session in Rajasthan thrice, Governor Kalraj Mishra finally approves the revised proposal sent by the state government requesting to convene a special assembly session on August 14 after holding a cabinet meeting in the evening.

The Governor, in his order, has directed that all measures should be adopted during the conduct of the assembly session, as per the guidelines issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier, in morning, Mishra rejected the revised proposal of the Ashok Gehlot government for the third time while Gehlot, soon after the rejection of the proposal, met him for the fourth time to end the deadlock between the two.

Gehlot on Wednesday morning called the rejection a ‘love letter’.

Officials said that the Governor raised objections over the rising cases of COVID-19 in Rajasthan and again inquired how social distancing could be maintained in the assembly during the special session.

Gehlot rushed to meet Mishra soon after he received the information on the return of the proposal.

Addressing a function at the Congress state unit office here before meeting the Governor, Gehlot said a “prem patra” or love letter had come from the Rajasthan Governor. “I am going to meet him to ask what he wants,” Gehlot said at the party office before the meeting.

This was the second time he has referred to the Governor’s rejection as a ‘love letter’. Earlier, he had said these words while addressing Congress MLAs camping at the Fairmont Hotel.

Gehlot claimed a conspiracy to topple his government, but asserted that the party stood strong in the face of a political onslaught.

Going soft on the dissidents, he said that those who had “cheated” the Congress in the past can return to the party fold and apologise to party chief Sonia Gandhi.

“For the first time in 70 years, a Governor has raised such questions. Can you understand where the country is going?” he commented.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a PCC function where new party unit chief Govind Singh Dotasara assumed the charge.
Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan’s former deputy Chief Minister, on Wednesday, left the Congress workers surprised when he extended birthday wishes to Rajasthan Speaker C.P. Joshi and also congratulated state education minister Govind Singh Dotasara with a word of advice after he assumed the charge of PCC chief, here on Wednesday.

In his first tweet extending birthday greetings to Joshi, Pilot said, “Happy birthday and best wishes to the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Speaker @drcpjoshi. I pray to God for your good health and long life,” he said.

Interestingly, a few days back, Joshi had issued notices to Pilot and 19 MLAs, acting on a complaint filed by Congress whip Mahesh Joshi, questioning them why they should not be disqualified. Pilot challenged the decision in High Court and the matter is sub-judice.

In the evening, Pilot shocked the Congress workers with his second tweet in which he congratulated Dotasara for assuming the charge of PCC chief.

However, while congratulating his former co-minister, Pilot also gave a word of advice to him, saying that he hopes that the new PCC chief shall work without any pressure or partiality for the grassroots party workers.

“Congratulations to Shri @GovindDotasra ji on assuming the charge of Chairman of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee. I hope that you will care for the respect and honour of all those workers whose hard work helped in forming the Congress government in the state without getting under any kind of pressure or partiality,” he added.

Dotasara also replied to Pilot’s tweet in an interesting way, saying, “Thank you very much Sachin ji. I also hope that you will come to Jaipur leaving the hospitality of BJP and Khattar government and stand with the honour of all Congress workers whose hard work helped in forming the Congress government.”

Earlier, the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi had moved the Supreme Court, challenging the state High Court’s July 24 order staying proceedings on disqualification petitions against 19 rebel MLAs, including dropped Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

“It is submitted that the impugned order interdicts the petitioner/Speaker from acting under the Tenth Schedule at the stage of notice itself and restrains him from even proceeding to call for replies/comments from the respondents,” he said in the petition.

The Speaker has requested the apex court to rein in the “indiscipline”, contending that the High Court is violating the apex court verdict in Kihito Hollohan matter.

“The impugned order of the High Court is a direct interference in the ‘proceedings of the House’ under Para 6(2) of the Tenth Schedule which is prohibited, under Article 212 of the Constitution,” said the plea.

It urged the apex court “to ensure that the the authorities under the Constitution, including the judiciary, exercise its jurisdiction within the boundaries and function within their respective ‘Lakshman Rekhas’ envisaged by the Constitution itself.”

The plea contended that the judiciary was never expected, under the Tenth Schedule, to interfere in the manner it has done in the instant case, resulting in encroachment by the High Court in the field exclusively reserved for the Speaker.

Citing the 13 questions put out by the High Court in its verdict, the plea said: “The ostensible 13 questions are repetitive. It is respectfully submitted that the 13 ostensible questions framed in the impugned order are already answered and part of settled law laid down by this court and on this ground too, the impugned order deserves to be set aside.”

Amid the faceoff between the Rajasthan Governor and the Ashok Gehlot government over convening the special Assembly session, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said it could set a “dangerous precedent.”

Attacking Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra without naming him, the Congress treasurer said “it is perhaps for the first time in our history that we are seeing a Governor reluctant to convene the Assembly despite aid and advice of the elected Chief Minister.”

Patel cautioned that it may lead to a constitutional impasse and set a bad precedent in the democratic history of the country.

“If this dangerous precedent is allowed, what will happen if the Rashtrapati (President) refuses to summon Parliament despite the Union Cabinet recommending it?” said Patel in a statement.

Patel said if allowed it may create chaos and cautioned the Union government on the stand taken by the Rajasthan Governor.

The Congress has been insisting that the Governor has no discretion in the matter. Senior party leader P. Chidambaram said on Monday that the Governor has no “discretion” in the matter and the questions that the Governor had raised to stall the request were irrelevant and beyond his authority.

“Governor’s current stand that the law gives him a ‘discretion’ to summon the assembly or not is a complete distortion of the law declared by the courts,” asserted Chidambaram.

The Rajasthan Cabinet met on Tuesday and drafted its reply and sent the letter to the Governor for the third time requesting him to call the session on July 31. It is now waiting for Raj Bhavan’s answer.

“The government said that the Governor cannot question it, yet we are answering his queries. As far as the 21 days’ notice is concerned, 10 days have already passed, yet the Governor has not issued any date. If the Governor does not accept our proposal this time, then it will be clear that there is no Constitution governing the nation,” Patel said.

In another twist to the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, rebel Congress MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma from the Sachin Pilot camp, filed a plea in the Rajasthan High Court seeking the transfer of investigation of the case with reference to the audio tapes case released by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s camp that hinted at an alleged conspiracy to topple the Gehlot government, to the National Investigation Agency from the Special Operations Group, which is presently probing the case.

Sharma on Tuesday moved the court demanding the transfer of the investigation to the NIA from the SOG of the Rajasthan Police, the current agency investigating the case.

The SOG had registered an FIR against Sharma on July 17 for sedition (124 A) and criminal conspiracy (120 B) under the Indian Penal Code on a complaint filed by Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi.

The SOG team has been frequently searching Haryana hotels for the accused MLAs to take their voice samples.

The complaint was filed after three audio tapes emerged in one of which purportedly Sharma’s voice is heard while speaking to Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while planning to topple the Gehlot government through horse-trading. (IANS)