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Rajasthan crisis: Assembly session crucial now for Ashok Gehlot, he clashes with Governor

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Friday he had requested an assembly session from Monday and accused Governor Kalraj Mishra of delaying his decision because he was “under pressure from the top” to stall a test of strength. “We requested him to call a session in a letter yesterday and we waited all night, but there was no response. It is beyond comprehension what kind of forces would compel him to delay such a simple process,” the Chief Minister said, alleging a BJP conspiracy.
To build pressure, the Chief Minister and around 100 Congress MLAs drove to the Governor’s House in buses for a show of strength. “Gehlot keep fighting, we are with you. Call a session,” the MLAs chanted as they waited for the Governor inside the Raj Bhawan.
When he came out, the Governor told the Chief Minister: “The Supreme Court is hearing the matter. So I am having your request examined legally.”
The Chief Minister said he would not leave until the assembly session was announced. “I cannot say yes right now,” Kalraj Mishra repeated.
“We have a clear majority and we want the assembly to start from Monday. Doodh ka doodh aur pani ka pani ho jayega (everything will be crystal clear),” Mr Gehlot had told the media earlier.
The Governor said that he had not said “no” to Mr Gehlot’s request. “I have not decided yet. Whatever I do will be according to the rules,” Kalraj Mishra said amid reports that coronavirus restrictions may be one reason for him to hold off on a session.
Mr Gehlot said he had even requested the Governor on the phone to call an assembly session without delay. “I told him you must follow your conscience and preserve the decorum of your constitutional post. We are going with all our MLAs to make a collective request. The people of Rajasthan are with us. If the masses surround the Raj Bhawan in protest, we will not be responsible,” said the Chief Minister.
Mr Gehlot, 69, is going all out for a test of strength after Sachin Pilot and other Congress rebels threatening his government won a reprieve from the High Court today. The Speaker cannot act on disqualification notices sent to the rebels for now, the court said, ordering “status quo”. This means the Speaker cannot take any action until the larger constitutional question of his powers is decided. That question will be taken up by the Supreme Court on Monday.
Before leaving for the Governor’s house, Mr Gehlot gave a pep-talk to Congress MLAs at Fairmont Resort in Jaipur, where he has been guarding his flock since Sachin Pilot launched his revolt.

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