The Rajasthan assembly elections will be held on August 14, a notice from Governor Kalraj Mishra’s office on Wednesday. There was back-to-door talk on the matter between him and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The notice stated that the Governor “has approved the proposal to start the fifth session of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from 14 August, which has been sent by the Cabinet”.
The Governor this morning questioned the government’s third resolution, insisting on the 31 July date mentioned earlier.
Mr. Mishra said that in view of the outbreak of coronovirus, there is no sound reason to call a session without 21 days’ notice unless the government wants to exercise confidence. In that case, a short session with all security measures, including social security, can be held, he said.
Sources said that the Chief Minister – who has repeatedly insisted that they have the numbers – decided to start the session exactly 21 days after the first request was made.
The move was seen as being clear from Mr. Gehlot’s earlier stance that the Governor would have to follow the Cabinet decision in the matter. The governor, the chief minister claimed, was acting under pressure from the BJP and was going out of his jurisdiction to block cabinet proposals.
Mr. Gehlot, who claims he has the support of 102 MLAs – above the majority mark if his rebel former deputy Sachin Pilot and 18 of his MLAs cannot be disqualified – on any of his three resolutions The vote of confidence is not mentioned.
Rajasthan chief whip Mahesh Joshi said, “If the governor wants us to get the floor test done then we should give instructions, we are in the majority. Why should we ask for the floor test.”
The disqualification of Mr. Pilot and the MLAs supporting him will bring down the majority in the Rajasthan assembly, giving Mr. Gehlot some space. Winning the trust vote will secure his government for the next six months, but the rebels will be allowed to vote until they are disqualified. Even if he is disqualified later, his vote will be counted and the government is likely to collapse, which will give the BJP a chance to go in.
On Wednesday morning, after the Governor gave a break, Speaker CP Joshi went to the Supreme Court challenging the Rajasthan High Court’s interim order disqualifying the rebels. The order, which insisted on maintaining the status quo, was helping the rebels, the chairman said in the petition.
Sources said that Gehlot is insisting on starting the Rajasthan assembly session. Leaders in his camp said that many MLAs supporting the chief minister are being held hostage by the rebel camp and once they are in Jaipur for the assembly session, Mr. Gehlot’s number will increase. The team pilot denied the allegations.