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Rajasthan Governor allows assembly session, puts in 3 conditions

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Jaipur, July 27: Conceding that securing a vote of confidence can be a reasonable ground for calling an assembly session on short notice, Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra on Monday said the revised Cabinet recommendation does not mention it.

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Accordingly, he returned the Cabinet recommendation and sought another recommendation for the purpose, incorporating a 21-day notice period for calling the session for a floor test, a Raj Bhawan statement said.

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“If the government wants to win a vote of confidence, then it can become a reasonable ground for calling the assembly session on short notice,” it added. It further quoted the governor as observing that the revised Cabinet recommendations sent by the government, however, do not mention seeking a vote of confidence as the purpose for calling the session but it is clear from the statements in the media that the government wants to go for it.

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Accordingly, the governor has returned the revised Cabinet recommendations for calling the session and suggested the government to act on three suggestions, including a 21-day notice for calling it, and directed the government submit the file again, the Raj Bhawan statement said. It mentioned that the governor while giving the suggestions under Article 174 of the Constitution, has directed the government to initiate the process for calling the session.

The governor has directed the state government to submit the file again, acting on his three-point suggestions which includes “a 21-day notice for the session, the video recording and live streaming of the assembly proceedings and floor test, if it happens, and ensuring social distancing during the session”. It is for the second time that the governor has returned the Cabinet recommendations to the state government.

A Raj Bhawan official said the revised Cabinet recommendations sent to the Governor by the state government on Saturday night was about calling the session from July 31 but the governor has pointed out that a 21-day notice must be given.

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“As per this, the date of calling the session should be revised now,” the official, who wished not to be named, said. “The governor has said there is no intention not to summon the session. He agrees for (summoning) the session but there are some suggestions on which actions are required from the state government,” he said.

The governor also pointed out that it is clear from the statements in the media that the state government wants a vote of confidence in the assembly but the Cabinet proposal has no mention about it. The governor said the assembly session should be called after giving a 21-day notice so that equality to all as per the Article 14 of the Constitution can be ensured, the official said. He also suggested that a healthy debate on important social and political issues can be held online as well, as the Supreme court and high courts are doing to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

The second suggestion is about the video recording the assembly proceeding and the live streaming of the process of the floor test if it happens. The entire process of the floor test should be held in the presence of the principal secretary of the Parliamentary Affairs Department and through “Yes” and “No” buttons only, the release said.

The governor also asked the government to clarify how the social distancing norms would be fulfilled during the session. Mishra said as per his knowledge, the seating arrangements for 200 MLAs and 1,000 employees are not in such a manner that social distancing norms can be fulfilled whereas the government guidelines and provisions of Disaster Management Act are required to be followed to contain the spread of the pandemicto Mishra on Saturday night for calling the assembly session from July 31.

The revised note was sent after Governor Mishra raised some queries over the earlier Cabinet proposal submitted by the state government on Thursday last week. The governor on Friday had sought clarifications on six points from the state government, after Congress MLAs held a five-hour dharna on the lawns of Raj Bhawan, pressing for a Vidhan Sabha session. The dharna was called off after Mishra told the Congress leaders that he would abide by the Constitution but would not act under any pressure. The Congress government, which is facing a political crisis after a rebellion by the now sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs, says it wants to hold the session.

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