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Rajasthan political crisis | Ashok Gehlot to make fresh push for Assembly session amid face-off

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot leaves from a hotel in Jaipur on July 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid a serious face-off with the Governor, the Congress government in Rajasthan on Saturday deliberated on a fresh proposal to convene a session of the State Assembly next week to enable Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to prove his majority on the floor of the House. Governor Kalraj Mishra had on Friday refused to give immediate approval to a similar proposal.

A State Cabinet meeting, presided over by Mr. Gehlot, decided that the government would make a fresh submission to the Governor for calling the Assembly session, while responding to his questions raised over the original proposal.

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In fresh communication to the Raj Bhavan, the Rajasthan cabinet conveyed that the Governor has no discretion in the matter and has to follow the advice of the Cabinet, The Hindu has learnt. 

Citing previous Supreme Court rulings on the matter, the Gehlot cabinet is believed to have said the Government can neither question the period of convening an Assembly session, fix the procedures for the conduct of the session nor can it the agenda. 

“The Cabinet met at 4 p.m. again and conveyed these points to the Raj Bhavan. We will wait for his response as we don’t want to escalate things,” a senior Congress leader said.

Mr Gehlot along with the MLAs supporting him had staged a five-hour-long sit-in on the lawns of Raj Bhavan here on Friday.

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While accusing the Governor of stalling a decision on summoning the House session under “pressure from above”, Mr. Gehlot had said the people from the entire State could lay siege to Raj Bhavan. The Chief Minister wants to prove his majority with the hope to end the political uncertainty created after the rebellion of Sachin Pilot, who has since been sacked as the Deputy CM.

A 15-member delegation of the Opposition BJP met the Governor on Saturday evening and demanded action to control the “anarchy” in the State and accused the Congress government of threatening constitutional institutions and violating the COVID-19 advisory on social distancing in the protests and demonstrations.

BJP State president Satish Poonia said the Congress leaders were making false accusations against others for their “internal crisis”, while Mr. Gehlot's statement on surrounding Raj Bhavan was a criminal act under Section 124 (assaulting President/Governor with intent to compel or restrain the exercise of any lawful power) of Indian Penal Code.

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Earlier in the day, Mr. Gehlot told the MLAs at a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting here that he would go to Rahstrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, if needed, to make sure that the “BJP's conspiracy” to topple his government did not succeed. “If we have to picket Rashtrapati Bhavan or even the Prime Minister's residence, we will do that,” he said.

As the legislators raised their hands in support, Mr. Gehlot asked them to maintain solidarity and stay strong, while indicating that they may have to stay in the hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur for 21 more days to complete the time of advance notice for convening a new session of the Assembly. 

“The majority is with us,” Mr. Gehlot affirmed.

The Governor had earlier stated that the note containing the request forwarded by the government neither explained the urgency nor did it mention the agenda for the session.

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The Governor sought a clarification on six issues and asked why the session should be convened for a floor test when the government itself was claiming that it had full majority in the House. “No justification has been given for calling the session at such a short notice,” he said.

The Congress workers staged demonstrations at district headquarters across the State on Saturday to protest against the BJP's alleged role in the political turmoil and to press for an Assembly session. The party workers took out a rally in Kota and staged a dharna in Jodhpur, while accusing the BJP of destroying the democratic norms.

Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas said at the demonstration in Jaipur that though the Congress did not want any confrontation with the Governor, the ruling party had the right to call an Assembly session when it had the mandate.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 6:37:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-political-crisis-ashok-gehlot-cabinet-to-send-a-revised-proposal-to-governor-requesting-assembly-session/article32188956.ece

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