KEEPING THE Congress guessing, Sachin Pilot sprang a surprise Thursday by reaching out to senior party leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram even as he approached the Rajasthan High Court to challenge the disqualification proceedings initiated against him and 18 other MLAs.
Pilot spoke to Chidambaram, a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee, over phone in a reach-out that came days after the Congress stripped him of the posts of Deputy Chief Minister and president of the Rajasthan PCC.
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“I just reiterated that the leadership had publicly invited him to meet with it, and all issues can be discussed. I advised him to seize the opportunity,” Chidambaram told The Indian Express.
Another senior leader said the party’s leaders, who were in talks with Pilot, have assured him of an “honourable return” if he decides to come back.
While the Pilot camp approached the High Court, Congress sources said the party can consider giving more time to the rebels.
“The party’s counsel may not object if the Pilot camp sought deferral of the proceedings by two-three days. These are processes, which we will have to follow. But if the MLAs return, the disqualification proceedings will be withdrawn..we have to try and save the Gehlot government,” a senior leader said.
The notice issued to the MLAs by the Rajasthan Assembly Secretariat makes it clear that they would have to send their written remarks and submissions within three days — and that the disqualification petition will be brought on Friday afternoon before the Speaker for appropriate action.
The notice states that if the MLAs don’t send their remarks or submissions, it will affect the hearing and disposal of the petition.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Singhvi, who is representing the party in the High Court, told The Indian Express that the petition by the MLAs against the Speaker’s disqualification proceedings is not maintainable at the show cause stage.
“The Constitutional challenge, which they have added by amendment, was decided way back in 1992. So they are repeating an old challenge. Their argument is that the Tenth schedule is unconstitutional. That was held to be Constitutional in 1992,” he said.
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