Rajasthan stand-off ends, Governor orders Assembly session from August 14
In fifteen days from now, the Rajasthan Assembly will meet, as per an order of Governor Kalraj Mishra, who for days has rebuffed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's repetitive pleas to call the House. Gehlot is adamant to show he has the majority in the 200-member Assembly, and wanted the session to start from July 31, but Governor had some concerns. Here's more.
Congress' stalwart Gehlot, who became the CM of the desert state in 2018, has been scrambling to get the support of MLAs ever since his former deputy Sachin Pilot revolted. Pilot had been nursing a grudge after he wasn't chosen for the top post. This month, he took some of his loyalists and camped in Haryana, claiming that Gehlot has lost the majority.
Last week, Gehlot suffered a setback at Rajasthan High Court after the bench ordered that the status quo must be maintained on disqualification notices issued to Pilot and his 18 loyalists. Not being the one to be defeated easily, Gehlot launched a campaign for Assembly session. However, Governor Mishra said he needed more clarity, and asked if a floor test was on the agenda.
After the proposal for an Assembly session was rejected for the third time on Wednesday, Gehlot announced he would meet Governor Mishra again to understand "what he wants." Reports said Gehlot's government sent a revised proposal changing the date for the session's beginning from July 31 to August 14. To recall, Governor Mishra wanted a three weeks' notice for MLAs.
"We have again sent a proposal to Governor Kalraj Mishra seeking to convene the Assembly session. We hope that the Governor will accept the proposal this time and announce the date to begin the session soon," state Minister Pratap Khachariyawas said.
Yesterday, Governor's office revealed he has approved "the proposal to start the fifth session of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from August 14, sent by the Cabinet." If Gehlot shows more than 101 MLAs are on his side, then Pilot's revolt would be rendered useless. However, as numbers stand now, Gehlot has a wafer-thin majority and a switch by a few MLAs would prove costly.
Interestingly, while Gehlot v/s Governor Mishra played out in Rajasthan, Pilot maintained a low profile. He remained out of media's glare, merely tweeting some times. Recently, he congratulated Govind Singh Dotasara, who took charge as state Congress chief after his ouster. Pilot asked his successor to honor the demands of Congress workers, as they were crucial for the party.
When he took the oath, Dotasara said the rebels won elections on Congress tickets, and must stay with the party. "We have already given a message to all of them that they come and put forth whatever they have to say before Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. They have big hearts and will be willing to listen to them," he added.