The Rajasthan High Court is set to hear a petition filed by Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident Congress MLAs, challenging the disqualification notices issued by the assembly Speaker.
The group of former deputy chief minister had on Thursday challenged the disqualification notices under the anti-defection law, citing that they hadn’t done or said anything that would indicate that they were parting ways from the Congress.
Pilot’s team termed the notices under the Tenth Schedule a way to suppress their ‘freedom of speech’ and to impose the ‘majoritarian views of the party on them’.
Meanwhile, ahead of the hearing, the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police has been hunting for the legislators of the Pilot camp. While it reached the State House in Delhi earlier in the day, by evening the team arrived at Manesar’s Best Western Resort near Gurugram.
The Congress, however, asserted that it has “absolute majority” in the Rajasthan assembly.
News agency PTI stated that its sources in the Congress also did not rule out the possibility that an assembly session could be convened, even as party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala saying it is the prerogative of the state cabinet and the chief minister, and “they will decide appropriately”.
The Congress is mulling convening a session of the state assembly to checkmate rebel party MLAs, who are led by Sachin Pilot, in voting in favour of the government in the House or face disqualification, sources claimed.
“To seek a floor test or otherwise is the sole discretion of the cabinet of Rajasthan and the chief minister. It is the domain of the chief minister and the ministers in the cabinet and the legislature party, and they will decide appropriately,” Surejwala told reporters when asked whether the Congress was mulling calling a session of the state assembly.
On the BJP’s claims that the Congress does not have a majority in the state assembly, Surjewala asked what has changed in the last 48 hours that BJP state president Satish Poonia is so scared that he is not seeking a trust vote.
“They are conceding that we have an absolute majority, which we have,” he said, adding that the Congress has the support of 109 MLAs in the 200-mmeber assembly.
“The Congress has the strength and majority, and BJP leaders in Rajasthan are accepting it. They are now saying, BJP is not demanding President’s rule and the Congress government should not convene the assembly session,” Surejwala said.
As far as the Congress rebel MLAs are concerned, he said they are part of the Congress and a family matter can be resolved by a family, and not through the media.
Pilot was stripped of his position as deputy chief minister and Rajasthan Congress chief after he rebelled against the Ashok Gehlot government in the state.
“Sachin Pilot and his loyalists should leave BJP’s hospitality and return to the family and discuss the issues, if any, within the family,” he said in message to Pilot.