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Ashok Gehlot calls another cabinet meet, will discuss governor’s reservations over Rajasthan assembly session


Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday called a meeting of his council of ministers, the second in less than 12 hours, to rework a proposal to Governor Kalraj Mishra over calling a session of the state assembly.

Ashok Gehlot and his ministers will discuss the objections raised by Governor Mishra in holding an assembly session during the cabinet meeting at the chief minister’s residence at 12:30pm, reports said.

According to reports, they will work on an answer and resend the proposal to the governor to give a nod for holding the session. The revised proposal will be forwarded to the governor after an approval by the cabinet.

The chief minister, who is facing a revolt by his former deputy Sachin Pilot and other Congress MLAs, had chaired a meeting of the cabinet on Friday night to discuss the points raised by the governor on its earlier proposal.

The Congress will also hold its legislature party meeting on Saturday to discuss the political situation in Rajasthan. Chief whip Mahesh Joshi said the meeting is scheduled at around 11.30am.

“The chief minister told reporters last evening that the meeting will be convened today. It is expected to be begin at 11.30am,” Joshi said, according to news agency PTI.

The meeting will take place at the hotel where the MLAs of the Gehlot camp are staying.

The Congress government is pushing for the assembly session so that Gehlot can prove his majority on the floor of the House, which came after Rajasthan High Court ordered that status quo should be maintained on the disqualification notices sent out by the assembly speaker to Pilot and 18 other MLAs.

Governor Mishra had on Friday asked the Gehlot government why it wanted to call an assembly session to secure a vote of confidence if it already had the majority. He said “no one above constitutional decorum. There should not be any kind of pressure politics”.

He also pointed out that neither had any date for convening the session been mentioned in the cabinet note, annexed with the government’s request, nor had the cabinet given its approval to it.

He said he will follow constitutional norms to convene a session, denied there was any pressure on him from the BJP, and wondered why Gehlot was in a hurry to prove his majority on the floor of the House when no one had made such a demand.

The government has neither given any reason for calling the session on such a short notice nor proposed any agenda for it, said the governor, pointing out that a 21-day notice is mandatory for calling an assembly session.

The statement added Mishra had also asked the government “to ensure the independence and freedom of movement of all members of the legislative assembly”.

On Friday, the chief minister said that a letter was forwarded to the governor on Thursday night for calling the session, but he had not taken any decision on it.

Congress legislators supporting Gehlot had also staged a dramatic five-hour-long demonstration at Raj Bhavan on Friday, demanding that Mishra call a special session of the assembly and allow a floor test.

As Gehlot met the governor inside, the MLAs sat on the lawns, shouting slogans and asserting that they will stay put till the governor issues an order for the session.

The Congress party has it is confident of winning in the midst of their power tussle with Sachin Pilot and those backing him.

Gehlot camp feels that going for an immediate floor test may be the best way to end the political impasse and save the government that has been staring at uncertainty in the wake of a split in its ranks.

The chief minister has the support of 101 members, excluding Speaker CP Joshi. Pilot has 18 other Congress MLAs and three Independents in his camp, taking his tally to 22.

The BJP and its ally Rashtriya Loktrantrik Party have 75 seats. Bhanwarlal Meghwal, one Congress MLA said to be close to Pilot, is indisposed.

The Congress has accused the BJP of instigating the political crisis in Rajasthan and attempting to topple the state government. The BJP has denied the allegation and said the crisis in Rajasthan was triggered by an internal feud in the Congress.

(With agency inputs)

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