After a day of high-drama including a five-hour-long dharna by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his team outside the Raj Bhawan, Governor Kalraj Mishra on Friday (July 24) evening asked the government why it wanted to call an assembly session to secure a vote of confidence if it already has the majority.
The governor posed the query in a six-point questionnaire entailing a note sent by the Raj Bhawan on Friday evening to the state government’s Parliament Affairs Department, the Raj Bhawan said in a statement.
In his note to the state government, Mishra emphasized that no one is above the Constitutional dignity and no pressure politics should be resorted to. As per the statement, Mishra, detailing the circumstances in which the Raj Bhawan sent the missive to the state government, said, the state government had submitted a letter to the Raj Bhawan on July 23 night for convening an assembly session at extremely short notice.
“The letter was examined on its merits and even legal and constitutional experts were consulted over it,” he said.
The Raj Bhawan subsequently sent a note to the state’s Parliament Affairs Department seeking the status on the following six issues, the statement said.
Mishra pointed out that neither any date for convening the session had been mentioned in the Cabinet note, annexed with the government’s request for the purpose, nor the Cabinet had given any approval for it. He said the government in its request had not given any rationale behind calling the session at such a short notice while a 21-day notice is mandatory for calling an assembly session in the normal course.
The Raj Bhawan statement said that Mishra has also asked the government to ensure the independence and freedom of movement of all members of the legislative assembly.
The governor also asked the government to explain the manner in which the assembly session would be convened amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The Raj Bhawan has specifically directed that the constitutional dignity and the relevant procedure must be adhered to in any action by the government, the statement said.
Speaking to reporters on Friday evening, after Gehlot ended his protest, Mishra said he would follow constitutional norms to convene an assembly session and said he was under no pressure (from the BJP) to do otherwise, an allegation levelled by the Congress against him.
After a five-hour sit in on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan, the Congress had ended it after being assured by the governor that he will follow Article 174 of the Constitution.
Later in the night, a two-and-a-half-hours long cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Gehlot at his residence discussed the six points raised by Mishra for calling the assembly session.
The Cabinet note to the governor is likely to be forwarded on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Rajasthan High Court gave another breather to the 19 rebel MLAs including former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot from the disqualification notices served to them, after they urged the court to make the Centre a party to the case.
(With inputs from agencies)