The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the Bahujan Samaj Party and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Madan Dilawar, seeking an immediate stay on the merger of six former BSP MLAs with the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government amid the political turmoil, the Hindustan Times reported. The court has directed a single bench of the High Court to settle the matter by August 11.
The court’s order came ahead of the crucial Rajasthan Assembly session on August 14, where the chief minister will seek a confidence vote. The Gehlot camp has been claiming the support of 102 MLAs, including the Independents, in the 200-member Assembly. Without the BSP MLAs, the numbers will drop to 96. The BJP has 72 MLAs. Gehlot is hoping that the Congress MLAs supporting the ousted Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who were camping in BJP-ruled Haryana, would return to the party fold when the Assembly session begins.
Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha won the Assembly elections in 2018 and joined the Congress in September last year.
Prateek Kasliwal, counsel for Speaker CP Joshi, told the court that the petition filed by Dilawar and BSP is not maintainable. “The HC has disposed of the appeal filed by the BSP and BJP MLA Dilawar,” he added. “The court directed the district judge to get the notices served to the BSP MLAs [and] if required, to take assistance of the Jaisalmer superintendent of police to serve the notices. The court had also directed to publish the notice in a local newspaper and at the same time it is redirected to the single beach that it should give its decision on August 11 on the petition filed earlier.”
On July 28, BSP chief Mayawati had said that her party could have gone to the court earlier, but she was waiting for the right time to “teach the Congress and Ashok Gehlot a lesson” for the “theft of MLAs”. Her party maintained that the merger was unconstitutional. As per law, parties merge, not legislators, it said.