Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot reached the Raj Bhavan along with Congress MLAs to publicly mount pressure on governor Kalraj Mishra to convene an Assembly session at the earliest in a desperate survival strategy after the high court ordered status quo on the dissenting MLAs.
The dramatic scenes of around 100 legislators chanting slogans calling for the Assembly session signified Gehlot’s eagerness to take a floor test before his flock depleted further.
The Congress dharna ended late in the evening after the governor sent a set of questions to the chief minister and assured the government that the Assembly session would be convened if he was satisfied with the answers.
Gehlot promptly called a cabinet meeting at 9.30pm to prepare the answers and sent a fresh recommendation for an Assembly session from Monday.
Gehlot, who was present on the Raj Bhavan lawns where the MLAs were shouting slogans calling for an Assembly session, had said earlier in the day: “What is happening is beyond comprehension. The governor must be under pressure from the top to refuse to convene the session. He is bound by the advice of the cabinet. People are angry; MLAs are hiding in hotels. We want to end this and start work. I hope the governor gives his queries, if any, at the earliest and we will explain our position.”
Mishra said the politics of pressure was unacceptable. Asking the Congress MLAs to return, he said: “No decision will be taken under pressure.”
The governor later wrote a strongly worded letter to the chief minister, saying the protest at the Raj Bhavan had deeply upset him and could have posed a threat to his security.
Responding to questions about the BJP’s allegation that the demonstration at the Raj Bhavan was undemocratic behaviour, Gehlot said: “I have asked the MLAs to follow in Mahatma Gandhi’s footsteps. Protesting is the democratic way. We will follow this path.”
The Congress state unit has planned demonstrations against the toppling game at every district headquarters on Saturday.