Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, already facing rebellion from his former deputy Sachin Pilot, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi informing him about Governor Kalraj Mishra’s “behaviour” – the delay in convening an assembly session despite repeated requests and a sit-in on the Governor’s lawns. The CM said he will also petition President Ram Nath Kovind and inform him about the situation in the state.
“I spoke with the Prime Minister yesterday and told him about the behaviour of the Governor. I spoke with him regarding the letter I had written to him seven days back,” said Gehlot, adding that the Governor has sent them a six page ‘prem patr (Love letter)”.
The Governor this morning sought clarifications from the state government as he returned the proposal by CM Gehlot for the convening of the assembly session from July 31. Citing the coronavirus situation, the Governor said it would be difficult to call all the members of legislative assembly (MLAs) at a short notice.
Gehlot, who has been pressing for an assembly session to prove his majority on the floor of the House, has alleged that the Governor is under “pressure from the top”. The Governor denied the Congress’ charge, saying he will follow constitutional norms to convene the House.
“As per established conventions of the Constitution, principles of parliamentary democracy, the relevant articles of the Constitution and authoritative pronouncements of the Supreme Court, the Governor is duty bound to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers in the matter of convening the state assembly,” three former law ministers from Congress party wrote to the Governor.
The Congress leaders drew upon the Supreme Court judgments in the Shamsher Singh case in 1974 and the more recently Nabam Rebia in 2016 on the role of the Governor.
In the Nabam Rebia case, the top court held that a Governor cannot employ his “discretion” and should strictly abide by the “aid and advice of the of the cabinet” to summon the house.
Last week, Gehlot had written to PM Modi regarding the attempts to destabilise the elected Congress government in the state and alleged poaching of Congress MLAs by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Gehlot had also named Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in his letter to the PM.
Earlier, Gehlot had said he was ready to go to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s official residence at Delhi, and even the Prime Minister’s house to defeat the “BJP conspiracy”, exhorting his MLAs to stand firm like a rock.