Gehlot with his MLAs at Governor House.

Gehlot with his MLAs at Governor House.

Gehlot takes his battle to Governor House; displays 102 MLAs, protests for 4 hrs

HC asks Speaker for status quo on rebel MLAs; Congress asks Pilot to air his grievances

Agency Report | Jaipur/New Delhi | 24 July, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot demands an assembly session "as soon as possible" and protests for more than four hours at Governor Kalraj Mishra's house, accusing him of sitting on the request because he was "under pressure" to stall a test of strength. The Chief Minister submitted a list of 102 MLAs to the Governor, who asked him to send a fresh request for a session. "We requested him to call a session in a letter yesterday and we waited all night, but there was no response," the Chief Minister said, alleging a BJP role in the Governor's stance. "We are ready to prove our majority. The opposition (BJP) should welcome it, but here it is ulti-Ganga (opposite)". An almost day-long sit-in by the Chief Minister ended around 7.40 PM.

Amid the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and MLAs from his camp reached the Raj Bhavan on Friday afternoon and were seen raising slogans to demand the Assembly’s special session soon, as they sat in the lawn by following social distancing norms.

Soon after the High Court gave a breather to the rival Sachin Pilot camp, Gehlot fixed an appointment at 12.30 pm with Governor Kalraj Mishra. However, he later changed his strategy and called a meeting of supporting MLAs at Fairmont Hotel.

The MLAs reached the hotel around 2.30 pm in four buses. They were sitting in the Raj Bhavan lawn at the time of filing of this report.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Congress affairs in-charge Avinash Pandey, in a tweet, claimed that the Congress had a majority in the House and it wants to call a special session to prove this. “The Constitution gives this right to the government; why then is the BJP and its followers showing us their back,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he also said that ‘Truth, People and Numbers’ stood with them. “Our demand for fair justice shall continue against the BJP’s attempts to demolish democracy”. He ended his tweet with ‘Satyamev Jayate’.

AICC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted to accuse the BJP of “turning the Constitution into a circus”.

“BJP has made Sanvidhan a circus, democracy a Draupadi, and public mandate has been held hostage. Don’t forget the fate of the Kauravas who performed ‘cheerharan’ and now the public of Rajasthan playing the role of (Lord) Krishna shall also expose the BJP,” he tweeted.

Gehlot had met the Governor on Thursday, requesting for an Assembly Session from Monday. However, the Governor has not yet confirmed the same.

This came after the Rajasthan High Court ordered a status quo with regard to disqualification notices issued to the 19 rebel Congress MLAs, even as it accepted a plea filed by MLA Prithviraj Meena, one of the petitioners, to make the Centre a party to the ongoing case.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other party MLAs moved the High Court following the disqualification notices to them by Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi. The Speaker has now been barred, for now, to act on the July 14 notices.

The HC also accepted an application to make the central government a party in this matter.

In his plea filed on Wednesday, Meena said: “It is humbly prayed that the Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, (Dept of Legal Affairs) be made a party/respondent to the present writ petition in the interest of justice and law.

The High Court said that the petition is maintainable, but the matter is under the consideration of the Supreme Court.

Assembly Speaker CP Joshi had served the disqualification notices to the rebel MLAs, including Pilot, on the charge of “anti-party activities” soon after they skipped two Congress legislative party meetings in July.

The Speakers was first asked to defer action in the matter by three days last week when the High Court began hearing the case in which the petitioner MLAs challenged Para 2(1)(a) of the Schedule X of the Constitution.

The Pilot camp got another three-day breather on Tuesday from the High Court after it finished hearing the arguments and reserved the judgment for July 24.

The rebels had argued that no whip can be in issued when the Assembly is not in session and maintained that they had no plans to quit the ruling Congress but wanted a change in its Rajasthan leadership.

Meanwhile, Speaker Joshi on Wednesday filed a CLP in the Supreme Court, and its hearing is scheduled on Monday.
The Rajasthan High Court also accepted a plea filed by Congress MLA Prithviraj Meena to make the Centre a party to an ongoing case filed by former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other party MLAs following disqualification notices to them by the Assembly Speaker.

In his petition filed on Wednesday, Meena said: “It is humbly prayed that the Union of India through the Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, (Dept of Legal Affairs) be made a party/respondent to the present writ petition in the interest of justice and law.

Assembly Speaker CP Joshi had served the disqualification notices to the rebel MLAs, including Pilot, on the charge of “anti-party activities” soon after they skipped two Congress legislative party meetings in July.

The Speakers was first asked to defer action in the matter by three days last week when the High Court began hearing the case in which the petitioner MLAs challenged Para 2(1)(a) of the Schedule X of the Constitution.

The Pilot camp got another three-day breather on Tuesday from the High Court after it finished hearing the arguments and reserved the judgment for July 24.

The rebels had argued that no whip can be in issued when the Assembly is not in session and maintained that they had no plans to quit the ruling Congress but wanted a change in its Rajasthan leadership.

Meanwhile, Speaker Joshi on Wednesday filed a CLP in the Supreme Court, and its hearing is scheduled on Monday.
In a bid to pacify rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot, the party has reached out to him through the media and suggested him to air his grievances.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital on Friday, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal said: “What grievances you have? Tell us your problem, air your views in the party… and if you are not going to BJP then why are you in Haryana?”

“This is the same party where you were elected… Why are you making a mockery of this party? I hope, and I am sure this is not your intention,” Sibal said.

He also reminded Pilot that at 25, as a Congress leader he had become an MP and at 30, a minister and PCC chief, and then subsequently became the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

“You have 19 MLAs with you and want to become Chief Minister but Congress has more than 100 members… so how can you become Chief Minister when you don’t have numbers?” Sibal said.

Amid the political crisis that has struck the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government, the High Court has asked for status quo from the Speaker.

The former Union Minister slammed the Governor for “acting on the behest of the Union government and not protecting the Constitution”.

Gehlot along with Congress MLAs is sitting at Governor Kalraj Mishra’s residence in Jaipur, demanding that an assembly session be convened.

Gehlot came up with the plan to meet the Governor soon after the High Court on Friday ordered status quo with regard to the July 14 disqualification notices served by Speaker CP Joshi to 19 rebel MLAs, including Sachin Pilot, who was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and PCC chief.

On Thursday, Gehlot met the Governor and discussed convening of the Assembly session that the government planned for Monday to show his majority support in the House.

However, there was no reply from the Governor’s House until the filing of the report. (IANS)