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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Madhya Pradesh to Rajasthan crises: Such a long journey

A fortnight of resort politics later, the fight is now over convening of the Assembly session for a trial of strength. Gehlot wants a session, but Governor Kalraj Mishra is yet to give his nod. In Madhya Pradesh, the case was just the opposite.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: July 25, 2020 7:36:20 am
Congress leaders Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia during the CWC meeting on Sunday. (Express photo/Renuka Puri) Former Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot with former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. (Express photo/Renuka Puri)

When Sachin Pilot revolted against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, parallels were drawn between his rebellion and the one waged by Jyotiraditya Scindia against Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh four months ago.

A fortnight of resort politics later, the fight is now over convening of the Assembly session for a trial of strength. Gehlot wants a session, but Governor Kalraj Mishra is yet to give his nod. In Madhya Pradesh, the case was just the opposite.

When Scindia revolted and shifted MLAs supporting him to a resort in Karnataka, the BJP — then in opposition in Madhya Pradesh — demanded an Assembly session to put Kamal Nath through a trust vote. The then Governor — the late Lalji Tandon —directed the CM multiple times to seek a vote of confidence, but Kamal Nath found various reasons, including Covid-19, to keep putting it off.

The underlying reason for this difference, of course, is simple: while the Congress had plunged into a minority in Madhya Pradesh after the Scindia-led rebellion, it still claims to have a majority, however wafer-thin, in Rajasthan.

ExplainSpeaking| Why the Rajasthan political game could be long drawn out

In both cases, one of the parties moved the Supreme Court. When the BJP moved the top court over Madhya Pradesh, its plea was taken up and a floor test ordered within three days. In Rajasthan, the Supreme Court has allowed the rebel MLAs time to reply to the Speaker’s disqualification notices.

Madhya Pradesh: March 14-March 20

The first direction to call an Assembly session was made by Governor Tandon to Kamal Nath on March 14. In a letter sent to the CM, the Governor said he had come to know that 22 Congress MLAs (out of the party’s 114 in a House of 230) had sent their resignations to the Speaker and he believed the state government had lost the confidence of the House.

Invoking Articles 174 and 175(2) of the Constitution, Tandon said that the Budget Session of the Assembly would begin on March 16 with his address, after which “the only work to be done is voting on trust vote”.

While the House met on March 16, after Tandon’s address, the then Speaker (from the Congress) adjourned the session till March 26 in view of the coronavirus threat.

Express Interview| Ashok Gehlot: ‘Problem due to Pilot’s over-ambition… will welcome him if he again reposes faith in Congress’

On March 17, the Governor wrote to the CM again to face a floor test. Kamal Nath met Tandon the same day but ruled this out, claiming his government enjoyed a majority.

Hours later, the BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan and nine other MLAs moved the Supreme Court seeking direction for a trust vote in MP. Two days later, the top court ordered that a floor test be conducted by show of hands, on March 20.

That day, before the floor test, Kamal Nath resigned.

Rajasthan: July 12 to …

On July 12, then deputy CM Sachin Pilot made his rift with Gehlot public, moving with 18 MLAs to a resort in Manesar, Haryana. In a series of quick developments, Gehlot moved against his deputy, the Speaker sent the 19 MLAs disqualification notices, Pilot and his followers moved the high court and got time to reply, and the Supreme Court refused the Speaker’s plea to stay the high court order.

Claiming the support of 102 MLAs in a House of 200, Gehlot is now demanding that an Assembly session be called, expressing confidence that he will win a floor test. But neither has the BJP sought a no-confidence vote, nor has Governor Mishra agreed so far.

If in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government used the coronavirus threat to end the Assembly session, the Rajasthan Governor is reportedly stalling the Gehlot Cabinet’s recommendation for an Assembly session citing the same.

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