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    Notice to rebels in Rajasthan; BJP may have to reconcile to Pilot floating own party

    Synopsis

    Leader of opposition in Rajasthan assembly Gulab Chand Kataria, BJP chief Satish Poonia, former state unit president Arun Chaturvedi and former minister Rajendra Rathore held a meeting in Jaipur on Wednesday morning to discuss the “constitutional position” of the notice issued to the Congress MLAs by assembly speaker CP Joshi.

    Sachin Pilot made an announcement that he will not join the BJP.
    NEW DELHI: The Rajasthan assembly speaker’s notice to 19 rebel Congress MLAs and Sachin Pilot’s announcement that he will not join the BJP has led the saffron party to look at the legal implications in case of disqualification of these lawmakers and ways to stall the process. BJP is still hopeful of toppling the Ashok Gehlot government but may have to reconcile with Pilot floating his own party.

    Leader of opposition in Rajasthan assembly Gulab Chand Kataria, BJP chief Satish Poonia, former state unit president Arun Chaturvedi and former minister Rajendra Rathore held a meeting in Jaipur on Wednesday morning to discuss the “constitutional position” of the notice issued to the Congress MLAs by assembly speaker CP Joshi.

    “We discussed the constitutional aspects of the notices issued to the 19 Congress MLAs. Since we are the main opposition, we discussed the various aspects of this issue. We will wait and watch how the situation develops,” Poonia told ET.

    Rajasthan assembly speaker’s notice has been issued under Rule 191(2), which states that an MLA can be disqualified for defying a whip issued by his party. These 19 Congress MLAs did not attend the two Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meetings called by Gehlot on July 13-14. Joshi has given the MLAs time till this Friday (July 17) to reply, failing which they may be disqualified.

    “The charge of disobeying a whip applies only inside the House. There are Supreme Court and high court judgements in this regard,” Chaturvedi said. He cited the Parkash Singh Badal versus Union of India case of 1987 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court; Rajasthan speaker’s ruling in the merger of Janata Dal with BJP and the 2016 Supreme Court judgement in the Nabam Rebia versus deputy speaker, Arunachal Pradesh case.

    While the BJP state unit leaders maintain they are watching the situation, the party’s central leadership has been active behind the scenes, sources in Delhi said. The Congress rebels are likely to go to court.

    If the speaker disqualifies the MLAs, then the numbers would be in favour of Gehlot in an assembly with a reduced strength. The MLAs taking legal recourse after disqualification will have to wait till the courts give their judgement.

    BJP leaders said Pilot is likely to float his own party as some of the MLAs supporting him are not in favour of joining the saffron party. In such a scenario, if the Gehlot government falls, BJP may support Pilot from outside. However, much depends on how the situation plays out.

    With the situation remaining fluid, BJP is not pressing for a trust vote but insists that Gehlot has lost his majority.

    “If Gehlot has the numbers, he should parade the MLAs supporting him in front of the media. He has not even given his list of MLAs to the governor,” Poonia said.

    BJP sources said Pilot has the support of around 20 MLAs. Two MLAs from BTP and three independents are also against Gehlot. BJP and its ally RLP have 75 MLAs in the Rajasthan assembly, which has an effective strength of 199. One member is in coma.
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    1 Comment on this Story

    May 190 days ago
    Ultimately BJP is giving support in backdrop, wait and see.
    The Economic Times