Rajasthan crisis: After SC setback, Ashok Gehlot readies Plan B to checkmate rebel MLAs
New Delhi, July 23: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is likely to call an assembly session next week to conduct a floor test, after a huge setback by the Supreme court on a petition by 19 rebel Congress MLAs challenging disqualification notices.
The apex court on Thursday said Assembly Speaker CP Joshi cannot decide on disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs till the top court makes a decision on the issue.
Reportedly, Gehlot is mulling to convene a special session of the Legislative Assembly for a trust vote to 'expose' the dissident MLAs in the House. Meanwhile, the opposition BJP believes that a rapprochement is no longer possible after Pilot asserted that he was not joining the saffron party.
It also gave nod to the Rajasthan High Court to pronounce order on plea of 19 dissident Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy CM Sachin Pilot, against the Assembly Speaker''s notice for initiating disqualification proceedings against them, but said that it would be subject to the outcome of the petition before the top court.
The crisis in Rajasthan Congress has been brewing since the party picked Gehlot over Pilot for the chief minister's post. Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the party's state unit president when he and 18 other MLAs stayed away from two Congress Legislature Party meetings.
The rebel MLAs were served notices by Speaker C.P. Joshi after the Congress sought their disqualification from the assembly. The Rajasthan High Court will on Monday resume hearing their petition challenging the notices.
Going by the current arithmetic, the Congress has 107 MLAs, including the dissidents, in the 200-member assembly and the BJP 72.
If the 19 Congress dissidents are disqualified, the current strength of the state assembly will reduce to 181, slashing the half-way mark to 91 and making it easier for Gehlot to retain majority support.
In the past, the ruling party has claimed the support of 13 independents, two MLAs each from the CPM and the BTP, and one from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).