Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tells Congress MLAs he is ready to go to the President of India to make sure that what he calls a "BJP conspiracy" to stall a test of strength does not succeed. Gehlot, who protested for hours at Governor Kalraj Mishra's home on Friday to press for an assembly session, held meetings with Congress MLAs and his cabinet, after which a fresh proposal was drawn up and passed by the cabinet. Mishra last night asked Gehlot to re-submit the request for an assembly session, citing six objections. This proposal will be sent to the Governor soon. Gehlot has accused the Governor of delaying the session because he is "under pressure" to stall his government's test of strength. As Gehlot met with his cabinet, a BJP delegation led by Rajasthan BJP leader Satish Poonia and Leader of Opposition Gulab Chandra Kataria met the Governor to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the state.
A day after the face-off with Governor Kalraj Mishra over convening of a special Assembly session, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, here on Saturday, said he would foil the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) plan of toppling the state government and even “go to the President if required”.
Addressing the MLAs at Fairmont Hotel, Gehlot said if required we will stay in the hotel for 21 more days. The MLAs hailed the Chief Minister by raising their hands. The legislators are camping at the hotel to block any attempt of poaching.
The Chief Minister called a cabinet meeting at 4 p.m. reportedly to discuss a new proposal for the Assembly session.
While some Congress officials said the Chief Minister was scheduled to meet the Governor during the day, the Raj Bhavan officials said, “No such appointment has been sought”.
In fact, BJP leaders were to meet the Governor at 4.30 p.m. over the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.
The Governor is facing flak from the Gehlot government for not acceding to its request of convening the Assembly session. The Governor on Friday maintained that no one was above the constitutional decorum.
On convening the Assembly session, the Raj Bhavan said a letter had been sent to the Rajasthan Parliamentary Affairs Department, raising some points, like the date from which the session was to be convened as it was not mentioned in the cabinet note and no approval had been given by the cabinet.
“Neither justification nor any agenda has been proposed to call the session on short notice. In the normal process, the 21-day notice is required to call a session,” it said.
Instructing the state government to ensure independence and free movement of MLAs, it said as the case of disqualification of some MLAs was under consideration of the high court and the Supreme Court, the state government should take that into cognisance.
It also asked the state government to share the details how the session would be called amid the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The Congress MLAs on Friday staged a protest at the Raj Bhavan, urging the Governor to give his approval for convening a special Assembly session.
After meeting the Governor on Friday evening, Gehlot accused him of working under pressure of “top leaders” and hence, not giving permission to call a special Assembly session.
Later, the Chief Minister called a cabinet meeting at 9.30 p.m, which continued till late in the night.
On Saturday, Congress members staged protests at the district headquarters against the BJP, which according to them was making attempts to topple the state government and “kill democracy”.
A day after a face-off between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot supported by his MLAs and Governor Kalraj Mishra over the convening of a special Assembly session, a BJP delegation submitted a memorandum to Mishra, accusing the CM and his government of pushing the state towards anarchy.
The memorandum also accused the state government of openly flouting COVID-19 norms and Gehlot of giving inciting statements.
A 15-member BJP delegation led by party’s state President Satish Poonia visited the Raj Bhavan to demand action in the matter.
The BJP memorandum highlighted Gehlot’s statement on Friday wherein he allegedly threatened to gherao the Raj Bhavan and expressed his inability to control the situation. “It comprises a criminal act under Section 124 of the IPC,” the BJP memorandum claimed.
The state BJP said that “pressuring” the Governor to get a decision in their favour was also a “derogatory attempt to threaten constitutional institutions”.
Poonia said: “Scenes of anarchy were seen on the streets of Rajasthan on Saturday as the COVID-19 norms were flouted openly during the dharna staged by Congress leaders at district headquarters in the state. The CM, being the state Home Minister, is morally responsible for creating this situation,” he added.
“Flouting all set norms of COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrations were held at district headquarters on the call of the ruling party. Surprisingly, the district administrations remained mute spectators to such violations which shows the state government’s apathy towards the Covid pandemic,” Poonia added.
Alleging Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of indulging in a “conspiracy” to destabilise the Congress-led Rajasthan government, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi demanded Governor Kalraj Mishra to convene the assembly session.
“The conspiracy to demolish the Rajasthan government is clear. This is an insult to the eight crore people of Rajasthan. The Governor should call a session of the Legislative Assembly so that the truth comes before the country,” tweeted Gandhi on Friday night.
Rahul Gandhi said India is ruled in accordance with the constitution and law. He also said that any government is formed and run based on people’s mandate.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High Court on Friday 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.
Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra has asked Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to clarify his position on the law and order situation after the gherao of the Raj Bhavan.
In a stern letter, Mishra posed several questions on Friday’s incidents to Gehlot and asked him to clarify his stance.
In the letter in Hindi addressed to Gehlot, Mishra said, “If you and your Home Ministry can’t protect the Governor, then what about the law and order in the state? What agency should be contacted for the Governor’s security? I’ve never heard such a statement from any CM. Is this not the beginning of a wrong trend where MLAs protest at Raj Bhawan?”
The statement that the Governor was referring to was issued by Gehlot where he said that if Raj Bhavan is gheraoed by the people of the state, it is not his responsibility.
“Before I could discuss the matter with experts regarding the Assembly session, you have publicly said that if Raj Bhawan is ‘gheraoed’, it is not your responsibility,” Mishra said.
Mishra added that in his long political career, he has not heard any Chief Minister say such a thing. “I saw your statement on electronic media today in which you tried to give political colour to the constitutional obligations and constitutional decisions, on account of which I am sad and hurt,” Mishra said.
“Once I receive a letter from you, I will have to make a decision keeping all constitutional obligations in mind and this right has been given to me by the Constitution,” Mishra said in the scathing letter. (IANS)