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Rajasthan political crisis | Ready for floor test, says Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (unseen) addresses Congress MLAs at a hotel in Jaipur on July 21, 2020.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (unseen) addresses Congress MLAs at a hotel in Jaipur on July 21, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

A day ahead of the crucial High Court verdict on disqualification notices issued by the Assembly Speaker to rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot and 18 dissident MLAs, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said the Assembly session would be called soon and claimed that he had “full majority” and all legislators of the ruling party were “united.”

“We will prove the mandate on the floor of the House,” he said.

Rajasthan political crisis | Supreme Court refuses Rajasthan Speaker’s plea against High Court order

‘Held hostage’

“Some of the MLAs held hostage [by the Pilot camp] will also come and vote for us... They are calling [us] and telling us that they are being held against their wishes,” he told mediapersons in Jaipur after the Supreme Court allowed the Rajasthan High Court to pass orders on a writ petition of the dissident MLAs.

As all parties involved in the legal tangle — the Speaker, the ruling party’s chief whip and the rebel legislators — kept their fingers crossed before the High Court’s verdict scheduled for Friday, Mr. Gehlot said those who had gone to the court after “committing mistake” had only taken exception to the disqualification notices served on them. “It has got nothing to do with the anti-defection law,” he said.

The Congress has been claiming the support of 109 legislators to the Gehlot government in the 200-member House. Mr. Gehlot said two Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meetings were called to enable those who had gone away to come back. “Since they did not come, it looked like they had intentions of parting ways. Our chief whip then filed a petition with the Speaker in this regard.”

Slams raids

The Chief Minister slammed the raids being conducted by the Central agencies on the people connected with the Congress in Rajasthan, including on his elder brother’s premises in Jodhpur. He said these “intimidatory tactics” would not stop the Congress from exposing the BJP’s “fascist ideology.” “The BJP is out to kill democracy. It is only the Congress which can fight it.”

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Mr. Gehlot said the audio tapes containing the conversations about the plot to topple his government could be sent abroad for forensic test. Without taking Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat’s name, he asked why he was not coming forward to give a voice sample to the police authorities investigating the case.

On his letter written recently to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Rajasthan’s political turmoil, Mr. Gehlot said he had sent it to ensure that Mr. Modi did not later say that he did not have information about the attempts made to bring down the government. “I wrote to the PM as this is a democracy. He should not say [later] that he did not know about the crisis.”

Mr. Gehlot had named Union Minister Mr. Shekhawat in the letter as the one involved in horse-trading of MLAs. The letter stated: “Malicious attempts are being made to topple elected governments by way of horse-trading. I have no idea to what extent you are aware of these developments or you are being misled. History will never forgive those who take part in such acts.”

Rajasthan political crisis | Gehlot launches fresh attack on Sachin Pilot

Meanwhile, Mr. Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs have moved an application in the High Court seeking the inclusion of the Union government in the list of respondents. The application stated that since the Tenth Schedule’s constitutional validity was under challenge in the case, the Union of India was a necessary party.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 8:01:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-political-crisis-ready-for-floor-test-says-ashok-gehlot/article32176379.ece

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