The Rajasthan High Court today granted time to Congress rebel leader Sachin Pilot and his loyalist MLAs to file a fresh petition tomorrow against their disqualification by the speaker. The hearing which has been adjourned by the HC will be taken up tomorrow by a division bench.
While senior advocate Harish Salve and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi are representing Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan High Court, the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker is being represented by Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on July 16 (Thursday) approached Rajasthan High Court to challenge disqualification notice issued by Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, which rebel leader and the other MLAs termed as a move of “unholy haste”, which is “mala fide and contrary to Assembly rules”.
Based on a petition submitted by Dr Mahesh Joshi, the Chief Whip of the Congress in Rajasthan, Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Joshi had issued notices on July 15 (Wednesday) to Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs for explaining their “anti-party activities”.
The notice was issued under Article 191 of Constitution and the 10th Schedule as per the provision of Disqualification Rules 1989.
Pilot and 18 other MLAs have been asked to attend the proceedings on July 17 at 1 PM in the chamber of Assembly Speaker CP Joshi. The notice has also been pasted on the official residences of all these MLAs and they have been asked to submit written reply to the notice by July 1.
Lashing out at Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Pilot had said that the disqualification notices issued to him and 18 other Congress MLAs have no legal basis and were issued by Speaker Joshi on the diktats of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot.
Congress sacked Sachin Pilot as the state chief and removed him from the Deputy CM’s post
On July 14, the Congress party had sacked the young Turk as Rajasthan state Congress chief and removed him from the post of Deputy Chief Minister of the state. The decision came minutes after a total of 102 MLAs of the Rajasthan Assembly present at the Congress Legislative Party meeting at Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur passed a resolution to remove him from the party.
The resolution to remove him allegedly came after party president and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot did not show up at the CLP meet for the second time in as many days.
Announcing the party’s decision to sack the rebel leader, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that Congress had approached Sachin Pilot a number of times to placate him, but “Pilot became part of BJP conspiracy to destabilise the Congress government in Rajasthan, Surjewala alleged. He added that Pilot and his supporters are fired from their posts.
Rajasthan political crisis brewing for over two years
The infighting within the Rajasthan Congress, which compelled the young Turk to bid adieu to the grand old party, began soon after the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly elections. A power tussle ensued between Congress’ old guard Ashok Gehlot and youth leader Sachin pilot for the coveted post of the Chief Minister. Then, the party supremos had chosen Gehlot over Pilot, which resulted in the latter being sidelined, making way for Gehlot to become Rajasthan’s CM. This created an internal rift within the party, only to increase today.