JAIPUR: Blinking first in its battle of attrition with governor Kalraj Mishra over convening the Rajasthan assembly at short notice, the Ashok Gehlot government on Wednesday settled for a special House session from August 14 instead of July 31, as originally demanded, after Raj Bhavan returned three cabinet proposals in six days.
Governor Mishra accepted the cabinet’s revised proposal — its fourth — late in the evening and instructed the authorities to make arrangements for the special session with adequate protection against Covid-19.
State parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal told TOI, “We had sent our first proposal on July 23. Treating that as the starting point, we now meet the required notice period for the House to convene from August 14.”
Sources in Congress said all MLAs on CM Gehlot’s side would remain corralled in the Jaipur hotel, where they have been staying for almost all of this month, till the session.
Decision on trust vote best left to speaker, BAC, says government
The endgame came after another roller-coaster day that seemed to be heading towards a stalemate until a meeting between the CM and the governor in the afternoon set the stage for a resolution of the dispute. “The ‘love letter’ (governor’s correspondence) has arrived. I am going to have tea with him and ask him what he wants. But you need not worry, our government is stable,” Gehlot said at an event marking Govind Singh Dotasra’s appointment as the new PCC chief.
“The governor’s role is just to sign; the file goes and comes back with his signature. For the first time, a governor has raised questions like this… I will make up for your loss (of time) with interest, do not worry.”
While returning the cabinet’s third proposal earlier in the day, the governor had said, “If the government has taken a decision to call the assembly session deviating from the general rule, under what difficult and extreme circumstances has it been done?”
The communication from Mishra ended with a reiteration of the main condition in his “three-point advice” on Monday, “It would be proper to call a routine assembly session like the monsoon session with a notice of 21 days.”
In his caveat for an assembly session at short notice, the governor had said the only way a special assembly session could be justified without 21 days’ notice was if the government explicitly stated it wanted to go for a floor test. The Gehlot cabinet had mentioned in all its proposals that it wanted a special session to discuss the ongoing pandemic, take stock of the state’s finances and pass some bills.
On the governor’s conditions for a trust vote and proper social distancing inside the House, the government said these requirements were best left for the Speaker and the business advisory committee (BAC)of the assembly to decide. Soon after the announcement, Speaker CP Joshi, too, paid a courtesy visit to the governor.