In the backdrop of a tug of war between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Governor Kalraj Mishra over the convening of an Assembly session, Congress leader P Chidambaram has hit out at the latter stating that he has no discretion in stalling the process and is just a “formal instrument” who should facilitate the decisions of the executive government.
Addressing a virtual press conference on Monday (July 27), Chidambaram said the governors appointed by the BJP since 2014 have frequently violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution, thereby impairing the parliamentary democracy, its conventions, and traditions.
“There are at least three landmark judgements of courts where the governors concerned acted in gross violation of the constitutions – Arunachal Pradesh in 2016, Uttarakhand in 2016 and Karnataka in 2019. Despite these judgments and the statements of law, the governor of Rajasthan has stalled and continues to stall a perfectly valid request of the council of ministers of Rajasthan – to convene a session of the legislative assembly,” he said.
“The fundamental basis of a parliamentary democracy is a functioning legislature. If the executive government wants the legislature to meet, it has absolute right and authority to call a session. The governor is only a formal instrument to sign and issue the summons to the MLAs,” the Congress leader added.
Chidambaram urged the President to take stock of the situation and ask Mishra to convene an assembly session.
“I sincerely hope that the President will take note of what is happening – the erosion of parliamentary democracy the erosion of the Constitution, the violation of the Constitution and do what is right in the circumstances,” he said.
Gehlot who is facing a rebellion from his former deputy Sachin Pilot and 18 other MLAs, has been trying to cajole the governor into calling an Assembly session so that he can prove his majority. The governor, however, has rejected his proposal twice, asking for more clarifications and contending that a 21-day notice is required to call a session. The Congress has accused him of deliberately stalling the process due to pressure from the central government.