Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot speaks during the CLP meeting with party MLAs at Fairmount Hotel in Jaipur on Thursday. (ANI)
CONGRESS MLAs huddled in a hotel here for the last fortnight will continue to camp together till the Rajasthan Assembly meets on August 14, a party leader said Thursday. This was discussed at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting held at the Fairmont hotel on the outskirts of the city, where MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are staying since the July 13.
“All legislators will remain united and stay together till August 14,” Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi said after the CLP meeting chaired by Gehlot. After rebuffing a Cabinet proposal three times, Governor Kalraj Mishra on Wednesday agreed to convene a session of the Vidhan Sabha on August 14. Ashok Gehlot and his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot are locked in a tussle for power in the State. Altogether, there are 107 Congress MLAs in the 200-member Assembly, but Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs have openly defied a party whip. At one point, Pilot claimed that 30 Congress MLAs were with him.
But the Gehlot camp claims that with the support of independents and allies it has the majority support in the House. The Congress numbers include six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs who merged as a group with the ruling party after the 2018 Assembly polls. The merger is now being challenged in the high court by the BSP and a BJP MLA.
The BJP has 72 MLAs in the House. While saying that the loyalist MLAs will stay together till the session begins, Mahesh Joshi did not clarify whether they will continue at the same hotel. “It will be decided where to stay,” he told reporters. But he ruled out any location outside the State. Joshi said the Minister will take care of their departments during this period, adding that they have been going to the Secretariat. Before the CLP meeting a core group discussed the Gehlot group’s strategy. The 19 MLAs in the rival Sachin Pilot camp are also said to be camping together at hotels in Guragon near Delhi.
Constitution supreme for me: Governor
July 30 (PTI)
“THE Constitution is supreme for me,” Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra said on Thursday, and refuted allegations that he had acted under the Central Government’s pressure in the political tussle. The Governor also asked the Gehlot Government to make all efforts to check the spread of coronavirus and focus on development work in the State. In an interview to PTI, Mishra, who on Wednesday agreed with the State Cabinet’s proposal to call an Assembly session from August 14, said he has always directed the State Government to follow constitutional provisions in sending its request for convening a session. He had asked the State Cabinet to follow the 21-day notice requirement to call a session while turning down its earlier three proposals before finally agreeing to call the session.
“The Constitution is supreme for a Governor. There is no pressure on me,” he said when asked about the Congress’ charge against him. Mishra also expressed his anguish at the protests by Congress legislators inside Raj Bhawan, saying this was not an “appropriate” behaviour against somebody holding a constitutional post.
Asked about his expectations from the Rajasthan Government, Mishra said it should speed up development work and work out a strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19. “The State Government should take care of the common man. Attempts should be continuously made to spread awareness among the masses to curb the global pandemic. An atmosphere should be created that people should not fear (the disease). All out efforts should be made to check the pandemic,” he said.