Congress MLAs in the Ashok Gehlot camp on Friday ended a five-hour dharna at the Raj Bhawan after an assurance from the governor that he will go by the constitutional provisions on summoning an assembly session, a party leader said.
The governor, however, wanted the state government’s clarification on some points before he makes the announcement, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told reporters outside the Raj Bhawan. He said Governor Kalraj Mishra has given assurance that he will abide by Article 174 of the Constitution.
The Article deals with the governor’s role in summoning a session of the state assembly.
Legal experts earlier said the governor has no option but to accept the recommendation of the Gehlot Cabinet and convene the assembly session.
Outside the Raj Bhawan, AICC spokesperson Surjewala said the governor has given a note to Gehlot seeking clarifications. He said these points will be taken care of at a Cabinet meeting that was called by Gehlot on Friday night.
“The Governor informed that he will abide by the Constitution and will take a decision without being under any pressure,” Surjewala said. He said that after the Cabinet gives the clarification to the queries, the governor will be duty-bound to abide by Article 174. “We believe in the assurance given by the governor.”
Later, a statement from the Raj Bhawan said Governor Mishra, in a six-point questionnaire, has asked the government to respond as to why the assembly session is being called.
“When the government has a majority, what is the justification for convening the session to prove it then?,” he posed. The governor also said that neither justification nor any agenda has been proposed to call the session on a short notice.
The date from which the assembly session is to be convened is not mentioned in the Cabinet note and no approval has been given by the cabinet, the Raj Bhawan said in the statement.
Earlier in the day, Gehlot said despite a letter, the governor has not called the assembly session and alleged that he was under “pressure from the higher-ups”.
“We want an assembly session from Monday. But the governor is not calling the session under pressure,” he told reporters outside the hotel where the legislators supporting him are camping.
Gehlot said after the recent cabinet meeting, Mishra was requested through a letter to call an Assembly session to discuss the political situation, review coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the state’s economic situation. He also said that if the public surrounds the Raj Bhawan, then it will not be the government’s responsibility.
Gehlot, along with the MLAs, went to the Raj Bhawan in the afternoon, complaining that the governor was sitting on letter that the Cabinet had sent seeking an assembly session on Monday. Gehlot held discussions with Mishra separately while the MLAs began a dharna in the lawn and asserted that it will be called off only when the date for beginning the session is announced.
After nearly five hours, the dharna ended and the MLAs returned to the hotel.
Meanwhile, the BJP sought to cornered Gehlot for his “public may surround the Raj Bhawan” remark, saying he himself has violated provisions of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code by his statement. Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria said the Centre should deploy CRPF in the state to handle law and order instead of trusting the state police.
(With inputs from PTI)