The Congress has decided on an alternative if Sachin Pilot and his rebel MLAs get a reprieve from disqualification from the Rajasthan High Court. The hearing in the case will resume on Monday.
Contending that they have not indulged in any anti-party activity, the Sachin Pilot camp had taken the Congress in court last week.
Sources in the Congress’s legal team said the party is planning to convene assembly as the next step, if the court favours Mr Pilot’s team.
In the assembly, the Chief Minister will prove his numbers, which the Congress claims are above the majority mark. Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, who is also a respondent in the case, will issue a whip to all Congress MLAs to vote in favour of the party.
If Team Pilot violates the whip, or abstains, they will be disqualified under the Section 2(1)(b) of the Tenth Schedule for acting contrary to the whip right away. It can, however, be challenged in court..
The current disqualification proceedings against Mr Pilot and his team is under Section 2(1)(a) of Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, also known as the Anti-Defection law.
Asked whether the MLAs in the Sachin Pilot camp will attend the assembly session if one is called, one of the MLAs told NDTV, “Let the time come”.
Notices were issued to Mr Pilot and 18 MLAs with him. With the team camping out at an undisclosed location in Haryana, the notices were pasted outside their house, sent as text messages and WhatsApp.
The MLAs had gone to court on Thursday, seeking that the Speaker’s notice be struck down. Disagreements between elected representatives and the party cannot be construed as anti-party activity and skipping two meetings is not ground for disqualification, they contended. They also asked that the Anti-Defection law, under which the Speaker sought to disqualify them, also be scrapped.
Disqualification of the rebels will lower the majority mark in the 200-member assembly and give Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot a shot at saving his government.
Mr Gehlot, who met the Governor on Saturday, triggering speculation of a floor test, claims he has the support of 109 MLAs.