Written byShalini Ojha
The political drama in Rajasthan extended well into the night, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot chairing a cabinet meeting at his residence last night, hours after his loyalists staged a dharna at Raj Bhavan to pressurize Governor Kalraj Mishra for an Assembly session.
At the over two-hour-long meeting, Gehlot reportedly discussed six points raised by Governor Mishra.
Here are more details.
Gehlot, whose chair was threatened last week after his former deputy Sachin Pilot went rogue, has been pushing for an Assembly session for days.
His demand gained momentum yesterday after Rajasthan High Court ordered that status quo must be maintained on the disqualification notices issued to Pilot and his 18 aides.
After a setback, Gehlot pushed his weight to show he enjoys the majority in the 200-member Assembly.
To display his strength, Gehlot paraded his MLAs at the Raj Bhavan.
Four buses, carrying over 100 MLAs, arrived at Governor Mishra's residence yesterday afternoon; legislators sat in the lawns for at least four hours and raised slogans in Gehlot's support.
Addressing media, Gehlot said he doesn't want a rift with Governor but never has he seen "such pressure" to stall an Assembly session.
Cornered, Governor Mishra said the constitution will dictate his next moves while adding that Gehlot didn't reveal the agenda for calling the Assembly session.
He wondered why Gehlot was keen on a trust vote when no one demanded him to show he has the numbers.
The man of the hour also said no amount of pressure, from Congress MLAs or otherwise, will affect him.
In a threat of sorts, Gehlot went as far as saying yesterday that he won't be responsible if Rajasthan citizens gherao Raj Bhavan.
Pointing towards this remark, in the letter he sent to CM, Governor Mishra asked if the state Congress government was "unable to protect him."
The letter added, "I am putting forth the constitutional position. You think there is any pressure?"
It's being reported that Gehlot's meeting with his cabinet focused on the six points raised by Governor Mishra. In a normal process, a 21-day notice is needed to call a session, the Governor had said earlier.
Reportedly, the cabinet passed a proposal to convene the session, which will be forwarded to Governor Mishra today.
The Assembly's agenda could be coronavirus and economic crises.
As things stand right now, Gehlot has the support of 101 MLAs, barring Speaker CP Joshi. A swing towards Pilot, who has 22 MLAs (18 Congress legislators and three independents), of even one member, will bring his government to a minority.
Congress sees a floor test as the best-case scenario and is certain Governor Mishra won't be able to stall it for long.
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