A delegation of the opposition BJP met Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra on Saturday (July 25) and accused Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the ruling Congress of creating an “atmosphere of anarchy” in the state.
Mentioning the Chief Minister’s statement about people surrounding the Raj Bhawan over Mishra not summoning a session of the state Assembly, the BJP said it was an attempt to “terrorise” the governor’s office.
Gehlot and several Congress MLAs staged a sit-in at the Raj Bhawan on Friday (July 24) to press for an Assembly session.
Earlier in the day, Gehlot had claimed that the Governor was facing pressure “from above” to stall the Assembly from meeting, hinting at the alleged involvement of the BJP government at the Centre in the tussle for power in the state.
Led by party state president Satish Poonia, the 15-member BJP delegation handed over a memorandum to the Governor. It said the sit-in and slogan shouting by Congress MLAs were also attempts to “terrorise constitutional institutions”.
“There is a procedure to be followed for calling an Assembly session but the Raj Bhavan was made a theatre for a sit-in. Is that proper? They are violating the Epidemic Act,” Poonia said, according to NDTV.
“We have asked the Governor that the focus should be on coronavirus. It is out of control in Rajasthan,” he added.
“The drama which happened yesterday in the name of constitutional right was unfortunate. The note, which was sent by the government to the governor for calling the Assembly session, had no agenda,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly Gulab Chand Kataria told reporters after the meeting.
He said demonstrations held by the Congress on Saturday against the BJP were the ruling party’s way to build pressure on the Governor to call an Assembly session.
“This is no way to demand an Assembly session. You cannot gherao (picket) the Raj Bhavan. You cannot give dharnas (protests) and demand an Assembly session,” Kataria was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“It is the right of the cabinet to send a note to the Governor for calling an Assembly session but creating pressure to get it done immediately is the peak of violation of constitutional values,” he added.
The Congress ended its sit-in after five hours after getting an assurance from the Governor that he will go by the constitutional provisions on summoning an Assembly session.
Kataria also demanded Gehlot’s resignation.
Asked if the BJP had sought President’s rule in the state, he said no such demand was raised.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore asked what was the urgency to convene an Assembly session at a time when there are nearly 35,000 COVID-19 cases in the state.
“They have created an atmosphere of anarchy in the state,” he said, adding that this government is headed for a “constitutional crisis”.
He further said the BJP did not seek a floor test in the Assembly.
The BJP also discussed with the Governor the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Poonia said. “We gave the memorandum to the governor and said that there is a need to control the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
Gehlot has been seeking an Assembly session to prove his government’s majority since Thursday (July 23), amid hearings in the Rajasthan High Court and Supreme Court over petitions filed by rebel leader Sachin Pilot challenging his disqualification.
The Chief Minister is confident that his government would win if a floor test was held at the Assembly session. On the other hand, Pilot claimed that he has the support of 30 MLAs. However, the evidence so far points to only 19 MLAs’ support.
The BJP has 72 members; 97 members if smaller parties and independent members are taken into consideration.
(With inputs from agencies)