Rajasthan Government crisis Live Updates: The Supreme Court will on Monday resume hearing Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi’s petition against the High Court’s refusal to initiate disqualification proceedings against former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs.
In his petition to the apex court, Joshi said the high court order was “illegal, perverse” and “in derogation of the powers of the Speaker under the Constitution”. The high court had last week deferred its order on their petition challenging the disqualification notices till July 24. It also asked the Speaker to extend the period given to the rebel MLAs to reply to his notice till then. The Speaker later agreed to defer any action “till the evening of July 24”.
In the last hearing, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari had said that Joshi’s plea raises important questions and requires prolonged hearing.
Meanwhile, the Ashok Gehlot government has sent a fresh recommendation to Governor Kalraj Mishra asking for a session of the Rajasthan Assembly on July 31. The Governor had returned an earlier recommendation by the government, asking for clarifications on six specific points. The fresh recommendation was sent late on Saturday night, after the cabinet met for a second time earlier in the evening. “All queries have been answered in the latest recommendation, through which we have sought an Assembly session from July 31,” a Congress leader said.
“BSP General Secretary SC Misra has written to the Governor and Assembly Speaker, calling the alleged merger with the Congress as unconstitutional. The petition regarding the same is pending before the High Court too,” Satish Poonia, Rajasthan BJP chief, told ANI on BSP’s whip to all its Rajasthan MLAs to vote against Congress in the floor test.”
Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra today returned the files related to the convening of the Assembly Session, to the Parliamentary Affairs Department of the state, sources told news agency ANI. The Raj Bhawan has sought some additional details from the state government. No decision has been taken yet on the Assembly Session.
The BSP Sunday issued a whip to six party MLAs who joined the Congress last year, directing them to vote against the Ashok Gehlot government in any no-confidence motion or other proceedings held during the Assembly session in Rajasthan. In a press note issued from Delhi and signed by BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra, the party said that if the MLAs violate the party whip, they will face disqualification under para 2 (1) (b) of the Xth Schedule. The note said all six BSP MLAs have been informed that since BSP is a recognised National Party, there cannot be any merger under para (4) of the Xth Schedule at the state level unless there is a merger of the entire BSP.
Until late on Sunday night, Raj Bhavan had not responded to the fresh recommendation. In a video released in the evening as part of the Congress’s ‘Speak Up For Democracy’ campaign, Chief Minister Gehlot said he hoped the Governor would act soon. “Until now, we have not received a reply,” Gehlot said. “The Governor is a long-time politician, sociable and vyavahar-kushal (well mannered), so I hope that he gives us the order soon, and we will call the Assembly.” The government would like the House to discuss the Covid-19 crisis, the “ruined economy” due to the lockdown, and have some political discussions as well, the chief minister said.
The Ashok Gehlot government has sent a fresh recommendation to Governor Kalraj Mishra asking for a session of the Rajasthan Assembly on July 31. The Governor had returned an earlier recommendation by the government, asking for clarifications on six specific points. The fresh recommendation was sent late on Saturday night, after the cabinet met for a second time earlier in the evening. “All queries have been answered in the latest recommendation, through which we have sought an Assembly session from July 31,” a Congress leader said.
Welcome to our live blog. The political turmoil in Rajasthan continues as the Supreme Court will today resume hearing Assembly Speaker C P Joshi’s petition against the High Court’s refusal to initiate disqualification proceedings against former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs. Follow this space for all the latest updates.
CM Ashok Gehlot walks out of Raj Bhavan with his supporters in Jaipur Friday.
In New Delhi, the Congress accused the Governor of acting in a partisan and “motivated” manner. The queries that Mishra had raised “reflected a sorry state of affairs of obfuscation, obstruction and dilatory tactics on flimsy, frivolous, and non-jurisdictional grounds”, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said at a press conference.
The Gehlot government, which faces a challenge from former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs loyal to him, wants a floor test so that it can prove its majority, and be spared of another count in the Assembly for the next six months.
A successful floor test will also allow the Congress to let its ministers and MLAs out of Jaipur’s Fairmont hotel and resort, where they have been kept for two weeks now. While seeking a session of the Assembly, the second recommendation of the cabinet did not, however, make a specific mention of a floor test.
After the Governor did not act on the cabinet’s original recommendation on Thursday, Gehlot had accused him of acting under “pressure from above”, and had led a protest of his MLAs at Raj Bhavan. The protest was called off after an “assurance” by the Governor who, however, asked for the government’s response on six points.
Mishra said the cabinet note had not mentioned the date from which the session was to be called. No reason had been given for calling the session at short notice, and no agenda had been proposed. A 21-day notice is normally required to call a session, Mishra said, and also sought details on logistics of holding the session in the middle of the pandemic. The Governor also sought clarification on the reason for calling the session if the government indeed has a majority.
Singhvi countered each of these queries.
He rejected as absurd the Governor’s reference to the fact that cases related to disqualification of some MLAs were pending in the Supreme Court and the Rajasthan High Court. “Whether the Assembly Speaker disqualifies or does not do so, cannot, per se, affect the holding of a session or a numbers test on the floor of the House. Whether the apex court or the High Court decides one way or another, it cannot affect the calling of a session or the exercise of power of Governor under Article 174, which, obviously, does not arise before either the Speaker or the two courts,” he said.