Ashok Gehlot (ANI photo)
JAIPUR: A day after leading a dharna at the Raj Bhawan in Jaipur, Rajasthan chief minister on Saturday said if necessary Congress MLAs will meet the President and hold a sit-in outside the Prime Minister’s home to settle the crisis in the state.
According to party sources, Gehlot said this while addressing a Congress Legislature Party meeting held at the hotel where MLAs loyal to him are holed up. He also told the MLAs that they may have to stay put there longer.
“The chief minister asked us to remain prepared to stay longer at the hotel. If required, he said, we would go to meet the President and would also hold a dharna outside the Prime Minister’s residence,” a party leader said.
On Friday, Congress MLAs had squatted on the lawns of the Raj Bhawan for several hours, demanding that Governor Kalraj Mishra should summon a session of the Vidhan Sabha so that they can prove their majority.
Gehlot alleged that the Governor was under “pressure from above” not to summon a session, hinting that the BJP government at the Centre was involved in the tussle for power in the state.
The BJP condemned the sit-in at Raj Bhawan, and an earlier remark by Gehlot that “we will not be responsible” if the people of the state gherao.
The dharna at the Raj Bhawan was called off Friday night, according to the Congress, after Mishra said he will abide by the Constitution but not act under any pressure.
The governor asked Gehlot to submit again his recommendation for a session, clarifying six points.
These included queries on free movement of MLAs and the reason the session needs to be called urgently.
The CM was on Saturday expected to submit a redrafted recommendation for a session.
Gehlot’s government has been under threat after his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot rebelled. Eighteen other dissident MLAs have also defied the party whip to attend CLP meetings.
Including the 19 dissidents, the Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-member assembly and the BJP 72.