Ashok Gehlot Gives List Of 102 MLAs To Governor Kalraj Mishra
JAIPUR : Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today demanded an assembly session “as soon as possible” and protested for more than four hours at Raj Bhawan , 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.
After the Rajasthan High Court ordered status quo to be maintained in the disqualification proceedings against rebel leader Sachin Pilot and dissident MLAs, Chief Minister Gehlot along with his supporting MLAs staged a “dharna” on the lawns of Raj Bhawan here on Friday with the demand for the Governor’s approval for convening a session of the State Assembly.
“We want an Assembly session from Monday. The Cabinet has taken a decision on this,” Mr. Gehlot told media outside the Raj Bhawan, while accusing Governor Kalraj Mishra of not giving the go-ahead “under some pressure from above”.
“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)”.
Unprecedented scenes of the MLAs raising slogans supporting Mr. Gehlot and demanding the Assembly session be held were witnessed in Raj Bhawan after members of the Gehlot camp arrived in four buses from a luxury hotel ,where they had been sequestered for several days. The legislators raised the slogans: “Call a session now” and “We want justice”.
The dharna ended after about five hours with a decision taken for holding a Cabinet meeting late in the night. Health Minister Raghu Sharma said a list of 102 MLAs was submitted to the Governor with the claim of a clear majority in the 200-member Assembly and with the plea that a floor test in the House was even suggested during the recent court hearings on the Speaker’s disqualification notices.
Before heading for Raj Bhawan, Mr. Gehlot addressed a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting at the hotel and said that if the Assembly session was not called and people from the entire State laid siege to Raj Bhawan, the government “would not be responsible”. The Governor, as the Constitutional head of the State, was bound by the Cabinet’s decision on convening a session, he added.
Amid the show of strength by the agitating MLAs, Governor Kalraj Mishra came out to meet them and assured them of taking an early decision. According to sources in the Raj Bhawan, the Governor, who had earlier sought a legal opinion on whether an Assembly session could be allowed when the Supreme Court was seized of the disqualification matter, would consider a fresh proposal to be sent by the Cabinet after its meeting.
The Governor, in a statement, said the “purpose of calling the session has not been given and no agenda has been proposed” in the four-line proposal. “Normally, a 21-day notice is needed,” the statement added. A new proposal is likely to be sent to him later tonight. “The Governor assured us that he would follow the constitution,” said Raghu Sharma, state Health Minister.
Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress Committee president Govind Singh Dotasra said party workers would stage demonstrations at all district headquarters on Saturday against the BJP’s “conspiracy” to bring down the Ashok Gehlot government.
Earlier in the day, the 19 dissident Congress MLAs of the Pilot camp got partial relief from the High Court, which ordered maintenance of status quo on the disqualification notices issued by Assembly Speaker C.P. Joshi to them. The court order has essentially put the disqualification procedure on hold.
No action will be taken against the legislators until the Supreme Court resumes the hearing on the Speaker’s special leave petition on July 27. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta passed the interim order after agreeing to a request by the Pilot camp to make the Union government a party to the writ petition challenging the notices.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs).