Gehlot says democracy is in danger, seeks session again | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Gehlot says democracy is in danger, seeks session again

ByAurangzeb Naqshbandi and Sachin Saini
Jul 26, 2020 11:47 PM IST

Jaipur/New Delhi:

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Democracy is in danger and the atmosphere in the country is worrisome, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said on Sunday, while requesting governor Kalraj Mishra to convene an assembly session.

“He [the governor] is himself concerned about the coronavirus, and discussions on it will be held in the assembly. We will also discuss the economic impact of corona in the session,” Gehlot said, a day after his government sent a fresh proposal to Mishra and requested him to convene the House from July 31.

The Congress has been demanding a special session in the wake of a power struggle between Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot. The Gehlot camp feels that a floor test in the House is its best bet to end the political crisis but accuses Mishra of delaying the session due to pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government. Mishra denies the charge and says he will follow constitutional norms to convene a session.

“The honourable governor is a veteran politician; he is friendly, mild-mannered. The position he holds is a constitutional one and carries a lot of dignity. I hope that he will grant us the permission soon and we will call the assembly,” Gehlot said on Twitter.

On Friday, legislators supporting Gehlot staged a five-hour demonstration at Raj Bhavan. Gehlot himself said if the demand for convening a session was not met, MLAs will “not be responsible” if the people gherao the governor’s house.

And on Sunday, the Rajasthan Congress decided it will not hold a protest outside Mishra’s residence in Jaipur even as the high command planned a nationwide demonstration outside Raj Bhavans.

“We have submitted a revised cabinet note for holding an assembly session to the governor. We hope he will give his approval...soon,” Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra said, announcing that there will be no such protest in Jaipur.

Raj Bhavan officials, who did not want to be named, said the governor was yet to take a final call on convening a session.

“There is a view in the party that this battle should be fought politically rather than legally...,” said a Congress functionary who requested anonymity.

Pilot and 18 Congress MLAs moved the Rajasthan HC on July 16, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by speaker CP Joshi. Subsequently, the high court on July 24 ordered status quo on the matter, admitted the writ petition by the Pilot camp and deferred its final verdict on the matter.

Before that, on July 22, the speaker filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court, challenging a July 21 order of the high court directing speaker to defer disqualification proceedings.

The top court will on Monday resume hearing Joshi’s plea related to whether or not courts can interfere with disqualification proceedings initiated by an assembly speaker against lawmakers even before a decision has been taken.

“Speaker’s lawyers will be making arguments before the Supreme Court on Monday though the possibility of withdrawing the petition has not been ruled out,” said a second Congress functionary.

The speaker’s lawyer in Jaipur, Prateek Kasliwal, said the decision regarding withdrawing the SLP will be taken by the legal team in Delhi.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who has represented the speaker in the HC, said his party wanted a floor test in the Rajasthan assembly and was “begging” for it, but the governor was not convening the House and “delaying” the trust vote allegedly at the behest of the Centre.

The fresh proposal sent to the governor did not have any mention of floor test though. A third Congress functionary who did not want to be named explained the rationale.

“Since no party has demanded a floor test, there is no need to mention that the House has to be convened for holding it. As already stated by the chief minister, the House will discuss Covid-19 situation and also conduct some important legislative business,” he said.

Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken accused the Centre of conspiring to topple his party’s governments in various states. “Small businesses are on the verge of closure. China has taken over our territory. But the Prime Minister, instead of fighting the coronavirus, the economic crisis and China, is conspiring to topple Congress governments,” he told reporters in Jaipur.

The BJP, which blames differences in Congress’s for the crisis, was quick to hit back. BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav said the Congress was “imploding in the face of internal feuds”. “...To save the party, the Congress needs to look within,” he tweeted.

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