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Gehlot May Recalibrate Strategy After SC Setback as Plans Underway for Floor Test Next Week

2 months ago 11
 PTI)

File photo: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot launched a personal attack against his former deputy Sachin Pilot on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

The political crisis in the state continued as Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi told the Supreme Court during the hearing of his petition that the state high court had no jurisdiction to restrain him from conducting disqualification proceedings till July 24 against 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.

News18.com Last Updated: July 23, 2020, 11:05 PM IST

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is likely to call an assembly session next week to conduct a floor test and prove the government's majority in the House, sources said.

His camp claims that he has at least 103 MLAs loyal to him – 88 from the Congress, 2 from the BTP and CPM each, 1 from RLD and 10 independents.

The political crisis in the state continued as Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi told the Supreme Court during the hearing of his petition that the state high court had no jurisdiction to restrain him from conducting disqualification proceedings till July 24 against 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.

However, the apex court on Thursday said Joshi cannot decide on disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs till the top court makes a decision on the issue. It also allowed the Rajasthan High Court to go ahead and deliver its ruling on the plea by the dissident MLAs against the disqualification notices served by the Speaker, but said the verdict will remain subject to the outcome of the hearing in the SC.

On July 13, former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot had declared open rebellion against CM Gehlot, claiming that he has the support of the 30 Congress MLAs and some independents in the state assembly.

At the time, Congress grappled with the crisis in Rajasthan, its top party leadership appeared to go all out to pacify Pilot who has raised a banner of revolt against Gehlot, with senior party leaders saying that both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had spoken to the rebel leader.

However, as the issue escalated, Rajasthan Speaker C P Joshi had issued notices on July 15 to Pilot and other rebel Congress MLAs after the party sought their disqualification from the state assembly. Sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and the other MLAs were asked to respond to the notices by July 17, sources said, adding that Pilot and 18 other MLAs had defied a whip and did not attend its legislature party meetings.

Sachin Pilot was on July 14 also sacked as deputy CM and the state Congress president after he did not show up at two Congress Legislature Party meetings.

The matter was taken to the Rajasthan High Court, and on Tuesday it requested the Legislative Assembly Speaker to defer action on disqualification notices till Friday as it will pass appropriate orders on the writ petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 dissident legislators on that day, the speaker's counsel said.

CP Joshi had filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court, alleging that the appropriate authorities of government bodies was being "circumvented" by the disqualification being challenged in the High Court, calling it a "constitutional crisis".

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