Order on Sachin Pilot, rebels’ plea on July 24, Rajasthan speaker asked to wait
The Rajasthan high court said on Tuesday that it will pronounce its verdict on the writ petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the state assembly speaker, on Friday. The speaker has been asked to take no action against the MLAs till then.
The MLAs were served the disqualification notice after the Congress party complained to speaker CP Joshi that the lawmakers had defied a whip to attend two Congress legislature party (CLP) meetings last week on Monday and Tuesday.
In its complaint to the speaker, the Congress had sought action against Pilot and the MLAs supporting him under the 10th Schedule of the constitution. The Pilot camp, however, has argued that a party whip applies only when the Assembly is in session.
Sachin Pilot, who has maintained he is not joining the BJP, was sacked as deputy chief minister of the state last month and also as head of Rajasthan Congress unit. Govind Singh Dotasra has been appointed as the new head of the state unit.
Even as the court hearing was on, the Congress held another legislature party meeting at the luxury resort where all its MLAs have been sequestered since the beginning of the crisis. Once again, team Pilot was missing.
“Neither Congress nor BJP want Assembly to be dissolved and election to take place...Entire country is watching the way you’re fighting. Your respect has increased manifold. It’s not something ordinary. All of you have phones, there’s no pressure on anyone,” said chief minister Gehlot at the CLP meet.
CM Gehlot, who admitted in a TV interview that he has not been on talking terms with his former Number 2 for the last 18 months, has been trenchant in his criticism of Sachin Pilot. In rather unpleasant remarks yesterday, the CM called Pilot “nikamma (worthless) and nakaara (good for nothing)”. Repeating his earlier charge, he said Pilot has been trying to dislodge his government.
Gehlot also claimed that some MLAs of the Pilot camp, whose phone were snatched away, have been held captive. The CM added the dissident lawmakers have been “calling us and crying over phone while explaining their ordeal”.
Sachin Pilot, when the drama began, claimed the support of 30 MLAs, however that number now stands at 18. On the other hand, Gehlot claims the support of over 100 MLAs. In the 200-member assembly, 101 is the majority mark. With 72 MLAs, the BJP has been watching the developments from the sidelines.