Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, back to the wall, on Wednesday tried to draw PM Modi into the Congress party’s internal strife by drawing his attention to alleged attempts to bribe his MLAs.
Gehlot singled out Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat among the BJP leaders who he charged were involved in wheeling-dealing with the rebel Congress MLAs. "For some time, attempts are being made to destablise democratically elected governments. This is an insult to the people’s mandate and open violation of constitutional values. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are examples of this," Gehlot wrote in the letter, appealing to PM Modi’s sense of Raj Dharma.
Meanwhile, the Speaker in the Rajasthan Assembly, Dr C P Joshi, has filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court. He has challenged the directive of the Rajasthan High Court that no action be taken against the former Deputy CM and 18 other MLAs till July 24.
Joshi submitted that a Speaker’s role is delineated by the Constitution and the Supreme Court and no agency has the right to encroach on the defined role. We are heading towards a Constitutional crisis, he said.
The SLP is listed for hearing at 11 am on Thursday. The Pilot faction, in turn, has filed a caveat against the SLP. A three judge bench will hear it. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal will represent the Speaker in the Supreme Court.
Speaking to the media at his official residence in Jaipur on Wednesday, Joshi said, “No one can interfere with the Speaker’s decision. The Speaker is well within his rights set by apex court to issue a show cause notice. I have just sent a show cause notice; not disqualified them. No one has the right to circumvent the notice through the court to achieve his goal.”
A visibly emotional Joshi said, “I have done whatever the court has asked me to do. First, I was told to put on hold the proceedings on my notice till 21 July. I did that. I also accepted Tuesday’s direction to stay the proceedings on my notice till July 24. But if my acceptance means that one authority will encroach on the defined role of another authority, then it is a big threat to Constitutional democracy.”
PILOT SERVICES NOTICE ON MLA: Meanwhile, Sachin Pilot has served a legal notice on MLA Giriraj Malinga and sought an apology and a token amount of Rs 1 from him within seven days. Otherwise, criminal and legal proceedings would be initiated against him. Malinga is MLA from Bari constituency of Dholpur: he had alleged that Pilot had offered him Rs 35 crore to help topple the government in Rajasthan with support from BJP.