Governor okays CM proposal for House session from Aug 14
According to people aware of the developments, the government was of the view that the fresh plan met the 21-day notice requirement called for by the governor.Updated: Jul 30, 2020 03:56 IST
Rajasthan governor Kalraj Mishra on Wednesday allowed the state assembly’s session to run from August 14, approving a proposal by the government for summoning the proceedings after returning three previous recommendations to convene it from July 31 amid an impasse triggered by the rebellion of Congress leader and chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s dismissed deputy, Sachin Pilot.
The Ashok Gehlot-led Cabinet on Wednesday sent another proposal to the governor for summoning the Rajasthan assembly, saying a session should be called on August 14. According to people aware of the developments, the government was of the view that the fresh plan met the 21-day notice requirement called for by the governor. The Cabinet is counting 21 days from July 23, when its first proposal was sent, they said.
While rejecting the government’s proposals earlier, Mishra said a session can be called at short notice if the agenda is to seek a vote of confidence. He said if the government was not stating the reason for holding a short-notice session, it could call a regular session at 21 days’ notice.
“Governor Kalraj Mishra has approved the assembly session. The proposal sent by the Cabinet to begin the proceedings by August 14 has been accepted. The governor has given verbal directives on necessary arrangements to be made for prevention of Covid-19,” a statement released by the governor’s office said.
The Rajasthan Cabinet on Tuesday said the governor did not have any locus standi in stipulating conditions to hold the session and asked him to abide by the proposal of the Cabinet. It said the agenda of the session will be determined by the business advisory committee of the House, and added that it was the assembly speaker’s domain to decide on social distancing norms in the assembly amid the pandemic.
The governor had suggested a 21-day notice period to convene the House; sought clarity on the agenda of the session and advised live-streaming of the floor test, if such a test was to be held; and asked about Covid-19 related precautions in the assembly.
While the Congress has accused that the current crisis is the result of moves by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP said it was purely a result of the internal clash within Rajasthan’s ruling party. The Rajasthan political turmoil has seen an open tussle between Gehlot and his now-dismissed deputy CM Pilot and a set of rebel Congress legislators, who allege that Gehlot’s government is in a minority. Over the past few days, Gehlot has sought a quick assembly session based on the assessment that he has the numbers in the House, according to Congress strategists.
Pilot has the support of 18 dissident Congress MLAs. Altogether, the Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-member assembly and the BJP 72.
Commenting on the governor’s approval to the assembly session, Congress leader Mahesh Joshi said: “We will run the House successfully. The decision taken in House will bring more relief to the people of the state.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Mishra returned the government’s third proposal, saying the Cabinet refused to state the reason why it wanted a session at short notice. He asked the Gehlot Cabinet to resubmit its proposal, giving a reason for calling a session at short notice.
As the impasse over calling a session deepened, chief minister Ashok Gehlot held a 15-minute meeting with Mishra at the Raj Bhawan. “The love letter has already come. Now, I am only going to have tea with him,” Gehlot told party workers at the state Congress office before heading for the Raj Bhawan. Hours later, the state Cabinet met to redraft the proposal, setting the new date.
Although the Congress has said it wants to prove its majority in the House, it has not mentioned this in its proposal. The governor previously referred to the Covid-19 pandemic and asked the government to make it clear why it wanted the session summoned at short notice under such circumstances.
The Congress has alleged that Mishra is acting “under pressure” from the BJP government at the Centre.
BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek said on Tuesday the post of the governor was constitutional and his party did not interfere in the work of the constitutional bodies.