Amid Charges of Horse-trading, SOG Recovers Rs 1.25 Cr from 2 Cars in Udaipur; Speaker Takes Up Disqualification Plea
Rajasthan Political Crisis LIVE Updates: The Rajasthan High Court today asked the Legislative Assembly Speaker to defer action on disqualification notices to dissident Congress MLAs till July 24. The court also reserved its judgment on the writ petition filed by now-sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 dissident legislators for July 24. The high court had on Friday given a four-day reprieve to Pilot and other Congress dissidents from any action by Rajasthan Speaker on the disqualification notices served on them by extending the hearing into their petition. Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the president of the state unit of the party after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Amid the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, a cabinet meeting is currently underway. This followed by the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting which began at around 1pm after about a two-hour delay at a hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur where Congress legislators supporting the Ashok Gehlot government are camping. The meeting is likely to decide the party’s future strategy as the court’s decision on disqualification notice given by the Assembly Speaker CP Joshi is likely to be delivered on Tuesday, sources said. Senior Congress leaders including national general secretary and Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pande, KC Venugopal, Ajay Maken, Randeep Surjewala, Vivek Bansal along with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are present at the meeting. This is the third meeting of the CLP in the last one week.
The Rajasthan High Court has resumed hearing in the petition filed by now-sacked deputy chief minister Pilot who is leading a group of 18 dissident MLAs. The Pilot camp has challenged the disqualification notices sent by the Speaker, maintaining that voicing dissent does not amount to defection.
Meanwhile, Gehlot’s public outburst against Pilot yesterday has virtually dashed hopes of reconciliation with the rebel leader, according to a section of Congress leaders. Congress sources indicated that Pilot has been in touch with the leadership and efforts were continuing to pacify him and get him back to the party fold. However, some party leaders feel that Gehlot calling Pilot names and going public against him in the media, has dealt a huge setback to the party’s efforts at rapprochement. Senior party functionaries said the leadership does not approve of adverse remarks against anyone, including political rivals, and has issued an advisory to leaders to avoid personal comments.
“With the chief minister’s attack on his former deputy today, all possibilities of rapprochement seem to have come to an end. It is quite unfortunate that despite the best efforts put in by the party leadership to make things work, matters have come to such a passe,” said a senior Congress leader.
Another leader said that with Pilot’s supporters continuing to stay in a hotel under the BJP’s watch and the bitter internal factionalism out in the open, hopes of the rebel leader’s return have dimmed.
The Congress is, meanwhile, keeping an eye on the outcome of Rajasthan High Court hearing on the petition of rebel MLAs’ challenging the Assembly Speaker’s disqualification notices.
Senior leaders said the result of the court hearing and the dissidents’ next moves would be factored to formulate the party’s future strategy. AICC sources added that Chief Minister Gehlot would soon convene a session of the state assembly to corner the rebels and prove his majority. No date for the assembly session has been fixed yet.
The Congress has claimed the support of 109 MLAs in the 200-member House and Gehlot has said that he has the majority. The chief minister on Monday called Sachin Pilot ‘useless’ using Hindi word ‘nikamma’ in a no-holds-barred attack on his former deputy with whom he has been locked in a power tussle since December 2018 when the party came to power in Rajasthan.