Breaking the long-standing impasse between Ashok Gehlot and the governor Kalraj Mishra, the governor’s office on Wednesday evening that the Rajasthan Assembly will be convened on August 14.
Gehlot’s proposal to call an assembly session was turned down thrice by the governor. After days of going back and forth with the proposal, governor Kalraj Mishra finally gave a green signal to Gehlot’s request to convene the assembly. This was announced in a notice that came from the governor’s office. The notice said the Governor has “approved the proposal to start the fifth session of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from August 14, sent by the Cabinet”.
The Raj Bhawan announcement came a couple of hours after the Ashok Gehlot Cabinet sent a fourth proposal to the Governor for summoning the Rajasthan Assembly, mentioning August 14 as the new date. The government argued that this met the 21-day notice requirement on which the Governor was insisting, counting the days from July 23 when the first proposal for the session was sent to the governor.
Earlier in the day, Mishra had questioned the third proposal sent by Gehlot which had requested July 31 as the date to call the assembly session. He observed that he found no valid reason to call a session without a 21-day notice.
The Governor had turned down three earlier proposals, saying if the government wanted the assembly summoned at short notice it should state that it planned to hold a vote of confidence.
After approving the proposal Mishra gave verbal directions to make the necessary arrangements for the prevention of COVID-19 spread during the session, an official said.
While returning an earlier proposal Tuesday, Governor Mishra highlighted three points: a 21-day notice, live broadcast of the proceedings if there is a trust vote, and social distancing during the session. With the chief minister having agreed to this, it is seen as a step down from his earlier stance that the governor has to abide with the cabinet’s decision in this regard. Gehlot had accused governor Mishra of acting under BJP pressure and was going beyond his jurisdiction to block the cabinet proposals.
The chief minister has repeatedly said that he has the numbers, the backing of 102 MLAs even without team Sachin Pilot’s disqualification. Gehlot, who earlier insisted on a trust vote, did not mention it in his last three proposals. “If the Governor wants us to have a floor test he should direct us, we are in a majority. Why should we ask for a floor test,” said Mahesh Joshi, Chief Whip, Rajasthan, NDTV reported.
Gehlot is caught in a tussle for power in Rajasthan with his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot, who leads a group of 18 other dissident Congress MLAs. A part of this drama is being played out in the Rajasthan High Court, which the 18 dissident MLAs had earlier approached against the disqualification notices served to them by the Speaker.
On Wednesday, the high court also began hearing a plea by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar, challenging the Speaker’s decision to reject his complaint against the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress. The court will also hear a Bahujan Samaj Party petition on the same issue. The outcome of this hearing is likely to affect the numbers Rajasthan government claims to have.