Fate of Rajasthan government to be decided by the high court
Last updated on February 14th, 2023 at 12:45 pm
A petition by Sachin Pilot and his rebel MLAs against the disqualification notices sent to them is coming for hearing tomorrow.
A bitter drama has been playing out in Rajasthan since last week with Sachin Pilot in open rebellion against his party. While he has said that he is not joining the BJP, political pundits are closely watching the numbers. The Gehlot government says it has the support of 102 MLAs out of the 200, a close call that is just one more than the majority mark. But this hangs on the support of two independent MLAs and is precarious.
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The best hope for the government is the disqualification of Sachin Pilot and his 18 rebel MLAs which will bring down Gehlot’s opponents to 78 and also the majority mark to a manageable 92. The MLAs still believed to be with the Congress are being closely guarded in a resort in Jaipur. Team Pilot has been staying in resorts in Manesar in Haryana out of reach of Rajasthan’s administration.
A Special Operation Group of Rajasthan police is investigating the emergence of audiotapes that implicate Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and a couple of Congress MLAs in a conspiracy to bring down the government. Shekhawat, who has been served a notice, has denied this and the police, that has been trying to get a voice sample from MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma, has been unsuccessful so far, being impeded by the Haryana police and turned away from the resort where he is put up.
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Meanwhile, it is in the High Court where the battle for Rajasthan will come to a head. Pilot and his MLAs have moved the court against the disqualification notices served to them for defying the whip and skipping two crucial Congress Legislative Party meetings. They have argued that the whip applies only when the assembly is in session and not attending two meetings doesn’t mean they are defecting. The petition has asked that the notices be quashed and that elected representatives can’t be removed from their posts willy nilly. Arguing for the Speaker, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that Pilot and his MLAs can’t take the matter to court until the Speaker has taken a decision on it. Despite all that has been said and done, the Congress is reportedly keeping channels of communication open with Pilot to facilitate his return to the party. The matter will be heard tomorrow.