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Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot: All Eyes On Rajasthan High Court Hearing today

Though Ashok Gehlot claims he has the numbers, the party is readying a plan B in case the Rajasthan high court judgement goes in favour of Sachin Pilot.


Jaipur| Amid political chaos in Rajasthan, the division bench of the high court on Monday will resume the hearing of the petition filed by the Sachin Pilot faction against the notice issued by the Speaker. The bench of Chief Justice Inderjit Mahanti and Justice Prakash Gupta is hearing the case. The bench is likely to pronounce its verdict today.

In the earlier hearing, the court had granted protection to Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel MLAs from disqualification. Following the Rajasthan HC decision, the disqualification proceedings against the rebel MLAs were postponed till July 21 on the basis of mutual consent of senior advocates. The legislators of the Pilot faction have been given time till 5.30 pm on July 21 to answer the notice of the legislators of the pilot group.

Also Read: Rajasthan Floor Test Next Week? Buzz After Ashok Gehlot Meets Governor

Earlier in the hearing on Friday, on behalf of the Congress MLAs of the Pilot Group, Harish Salve had contended that no activity outside the assembly can be considered a violation of the Anti-defection Act. Sachin Pilot’s counsel, in this case, is Mukul Rohatgi and Abhishek Manu Singhvi is appearing for the Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

These legislators were given notice

Sachin Pilot, Ramesh Meena, Indraj Gurjar, Gajraj Khatana, Rakesh Pareek, Murari Meena, PR Meena, Suresh Modi, Bhanwar Lal Sharma, Vedprakash Solanki, Mukesh Bhakar, Ramnivas Gavadia, Harish Meena, Brijendra Ola, Hemaram Chaudhary, Vishvendra Singh, Amar Singh, Dipendra Singh and Gajendra Shekhawat.

Tight Security in the High Court

During the hearing, the security arrangements will remain in the High Court premises and the courtroom, just like the hearing which took place three days ago. Lawyers not connected to the case have also been excluded. Lawyers coming to the court premises will also be asked for the I-card. Media personnel will also be stopped at the main gate of the court.

Congress’ Plan B

Though Ashok Gehlot claims he has the numbers, the party is readying a plan B in case the high court judgement goes in favour of Sachin Pilot. Ashok Gehlot once again met governor Kalraj Mishra with letters of support from two MLAs of the Bharatiya Tribal Party, which had earlier withdrawn support from the Congress government but has now announced they will back the administration. Gehlot is also likely to call for assembly session next week and prove his numbers on the floor. This was demanded by the Sachin Pilot camp earlier. As per team Gehlot, the Congress govt has the support of at least 103 MLAs- 88 from the Congress, 2 from the BTP and CPM each, 1 from RLD and 10 independents.
As per Team Pilot, 30 MLAs are in his support. This is enough to bring down the Gehlot government. So the party will take the following steps:
1. Call for an assembly session. Gehlot is confident that he has more than 100 MLAs with him.
2. Before the assembly session, the Chief Whip of the Congress in Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Mahesh Joshi will issue a whip to all of the party’s MLAs and direct them to vote for Congress i.e. Ashok Gehlot. Mahesh Joshi was the one who had filed FIR regarding horsetrading of MLAs in which two BJP leaders were arrested.

What is the idea behind this move?

Pilot though has rebelled, he insists that he is very much a part of Congress party. So do other rebel MLAs except the two mired in Audiotape row. These MLAs have neither been expelled from the party nor have they resigned. They still remain Congress MLAs. If they defy the whip issued by Mahesh Joshi, it can invite disciplinary action against them and they can even be disqualified from the assembly. This brings down the total number of the House down by 18-19: That leaves the assembly with 181 seats. So 92 would be majority mark and Gehlot camp already has more than 100 MLAs on its side. So it can easily win the floor test.


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