The Congress government in Rajasthan plunged into crisis after a revolt by Sachin Pilot against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
The political crisis in Rajasthan is deepening with each passing day. While the Ashok Gehlot camp is insisting Governor Kalraj Mishra to summon a special Assembly session, the Sahin Pilot camp and the opposition BJP are silent on the state government’s proposals. What is common among the three sides is that all are silent on floor test and refrain from speaking openly to hold a vote of confidence in the Assembly.
The Ashok Gehlot Cabinet has so far sent three proposals to the Governor, urging him to summon a special Assembly session. However, the Governor has returned all the three proposals, the latest being on Wednesday. Interestingly, none of the three proposals mentioned whether the government wants to hold a vote of confidence in the House. But it is being stated that a vote of confidence is Ashok Gehlot’s agenda for convening a special session in the midst of a political crisis.
What Ashok Gehlot is saying?
Chief Ashok Gehlot has been claiming that he enjoys a comfortable majority in the 200-member House. But the fact of the matter is that there are 19 Congress MLAs led by Sachin Pilot who have fallen out of Gehlot government and are staying at a resort on Jaipur-Gurugram highway for nearly two weeks.
The Congress, on its part, has claimed that it had given the list of MLAs to the Governor supporting the government when Gehlot had met the Kalraj Mishra last week.
While returning the past proposals, Governor Kalraj Mishra had asked, “Do you want to move Motion of Confidence? It’s not mentioned in the proposal but you have been speaking about it in media.”
So, why is the Ashok Gehlot government not mentioning a confidence vote or a floor test as the agenda for the Assembly session in the proposals?
The Ashok Gehlot camp and the Congress argue over the Governor’s jurisdiction in questioning the government. They say that the government and the Assembly will decide the agenda for the session. According to their argument, the Governor cannot raise queries or interfere on such matters as it is not in his jurisdiction.
Congress’ #GetWellSoonGovernor campaign
The Congress believes that queries raised by the Governor are nothing but a tactic to delay in convening of a session. The party on Tuesday started an online campaign #GetWellSoonGovernor as it urged Kalraj Mishra to come out of his ‘oppressive thinking’ and call the state assembly session without any delay.
Although Ashok Gehlot has refrained from mentioning that a vote of confidence is on agenda, it is likely that he wants to hold the session so that he can prove majority. If a special session is convened, the Congress can issue a whip and Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs will have to abide by the party whip, failing which the Speaker can initiate the disqualification process.
In the 200-member House, the Congress has 107 MLAs which includes 19 rebels. The BJP has 72 MLAs.
Why is Sachin Pilot camp silent?
Sachin Pilot and the 18 rebel Congress MLAs are currently fighting a disqualification battle in the Rajasthan High Court. The HC has ordered a status quo on the Speaker’s proceedings against them. However, Pilot and others are also silent on the question of convening a session.
But the Pilot camp has claimed that Ashok Gehlot has lost majority and termed as a political posturing the demand to convene a special session. The 19 rebel MLAs have not been expelled by the Congress so far and they know abstaining from the House or voting against the government will attract disqualification.
The Pilot camp has also rubbished the Congress’ claim that Gehlot had submitted a list of MLAs supporting him to the Governor. The rebel MLAs have asked why the list has not been made public.
Besides, the Pilot camp believes that two CPM MLAs have not committed their support to the Ashok Gehlot government and also there is uncertainty over 3 BTP MLAs’ support. Also, the Pilot camp MLAs are keeping a close eye on BSP’s development. The party headed by Mayawati has filed a petition in the High Court against the six MLAs joining the Congress last year.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party too has refrained from openly demanding a floor test. Normally, such a demand would have come from the opposition but the party has maintained that it is an internal rift of the Congress but said it is within the right of the Cabinet to send a proposal to the Governor for calling an Assembly session. The party said that the government cannot pressure the Governor into getting it done immediately.
A BJP delegation even met Governor Kalraj Mishra earlier this week but did not demand a floor test. The BJP has 72 MLAs.