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In petition against Pilot loyalists, Congress cites ‘absence from CLP, conspiracy to bring down govt’

In its petition to the Speaker seeking disqualification of MLAs acting in concert with group 'headed by Pilot’, the Congress parry petition states: “The individual has voluntarily given up membership of Congress by conspiring against party.”

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur | Updated: July 15, 2020 4:01:30 pm
On Tuesday, the Rajasthan Assembly Secretariat issued notices to all the MLAs who are Pilot loyalists. (File photo)

The Congress petitions seeking the disqualification of 19 of its Rajasthan MLAs, including former deputy chief minister and state party president Sachin Pilot, have cited the legislators’ absence from successive Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meetings, conspiring to bring down the elected government in Rajasthan, and statements made by them to the press as grounds to establish that they have “voluntarily given up the membership of the Congress.”

On Tuesday, the Rajasthan Assembly Secretariat issued notices to all the MLAs who are Pilot loyalists after the disqualification petitions were submitted by Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi.

“In sum, the individual in question has, despite requests, (i) deliberately absented himself from not one but two successive meetings of the Congress Legislature Party, (ii) conspired to bring down the elected government of the INC in Rajasthan: (iii) conducted himself in an openly hostile and prejudicial manner to the interests of INC and its Government of Rajasthan; (iv) remained mysteriously inaccessible in pursuance of this sinister objective for the last few days, (v) not provided any reasons or explanation for his continued absence, (vi) is admittedly part of a group that is seeking to destabilise the government and members of which have categorically declared this intention in clear terms to the media in three separate statements made on the evening of July 13th, 2020,” reads one of the petitions submitted to the Speaker seeking the disqualification of veteran Congress leader and MLA from Gudamalani in Barmer district, Hemaram Choudhary.

Explained: How Speaker’s notice to 19 Congress MLAs changes the numbers game in Rajasthan

Some of the notices addressed to individual MLAs from the Pilot camp along with the petitions have been accessed by The Indian Express. The notices were pasted at the gateway of the residence of these legislators.

In the petitions, it has been argued by the Congress Chief Whip that the actions of these legislators lead to the conclusion that they have ‘voluntarily given up membership’ of the Congress party and therefore should be disqualified.

“All of these lead inescapably to the conclusion that the individual has ‘voluntarily given up membership’ of the Indian National Congress and the provisions of Para 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule are attracted to disqualify him with immediate effect,” says the petition asking for disqualification of Choudhary.

The petition also names the other MLAs who didn’t attend the CLP meetings and mentions them as part of a group headed by Pilot.

“That Hemaram Choudhary, MLA is acting in concert, as a group headed by Shri Sachin Pilot, MLA and in association with other MLAs namely Shri Bhanwar Lal Sharma, Shri, Harish Chandra Meena, and Shri Deependra Singh, Shri Gajraj Khatana, Shri Amar Singh, Shri Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, Shri Indraj Singh Gurjar, Shri Mukesh Kumar Bhakar, Shri Murari Lal, Shri Prithviraj, Shri Rakesh Pareek, Shri Ramesh Chand Meena, Shri Ramniwas Gawriya, Shri Suresh Modi, Shri Ved Prakash Solanki, Shri Brijendra Singh Ola and Shri Vishvendra Singh,” the petition mentions.

in the petition, the Congress has cited instances when the MLAs gave statements in the media calling for a floor test and alleged that the people of Rajasthan have been cheated by the Congress government and also mentioned that they gathered and stayed in a hotel in Haryana which is outside the state of Rajasthan ‘just to flout the directions to attend the meeting on Tuesday.

“These are open challenges to the authority of the party leadership and represent the undeniable expression of a malicious revolt against the party and its ideology. The immediate conclusion that flows from these statements is that Shri Hemaram Choudhary, MLA, along with those individuals cited above have all voluntarily given up membership of the Indian National Congress party by conspiring against the party and by acting in a manner prejudicial and harmful to the interests of the party and the Rajasthan Congress government,” says the petition sent to Choudhary.

Following the petition, dated July 14, being submitted to Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, the Assembly secretariat issued notices to all the 19 MLAs including Pilot.

The notice issued to MLA Choudhary, also dated Tuesday and signed by Assembly Secretary Pramil Kumar Mathur says that petition of the Congress Chief Whip has been registered under the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha Sadasya (Dal parivartan ke aadhar par Nirharta) Niyam 1989 (Rajasthan Assembly Member (Disqualification on the grounds of changing party) rules 1989).

The notices give the MLAs to send their written remarks and submissions about the petition within 3 days and that the petition will be brought on the afternoon of July 17 before the Speaker for appropriate action. The notices add that if the MLAs don’t send their remarks or submissions about the petition then the hearing and disposal will be done in a one-sided level.

The notices have been sent on the legislators’ their registered email addresses, mobile numbers through SMS/WhatsApp and also to their local and permanent addresses.

The petitions also cite past supreme court verdicts to establish that the MLAs have ‘voluntarily given up their membership.’

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