The Bahujan Samaj Party on Thursday issued a whip to six former party MLAs who have merged with the Congress to vote against the Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan during the test of strength in the Assembly, NDTV reported. This is the second such whip to the legislators and a day ahead of the Assembly session that starts Friday.
“All six MLAs have been directed under para 2(1)(a) of the Xth Schedule to vote against the Congress Party in any No-Confidence motion or any other proceedings to be held during the Assembly session of Rajasthan Assembly and if they violate the same they will face disqualification under para 2(1)(b) of the Xth Schedule,” read a press note by the BSP.
The MLAs 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 2019.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to pass an interim order on a petition seeking a stay on the merger of these six legislators. The ruling was positive for the Congress government, as it meant they will be allowed to participate in the trust vote. The top court left the decision to a single judge in Rajasthan, which is hearing the matter.
Last week, the Rajasthan High Court had dismissed a petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Madan Dilawar, seeking an immediate stay on the merger of the former BSP MLAs with the Congress government amid political turmoil in the state.
BSP chief Mayawati had last month said she was waiting for the right time “to teach Gehlot a lesson” for the “theft of MLAs”. However, the plan fell apart after Sachin Pilot ended his rebellion on Thursday and met Gehlot, reaffirming the truce secured by the Congress leadership ahead of the Assembly session starting Friday. The party had constituted a three-member panel to address Pilot’s grievances.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday announced that it would move a no-confidence motion against the Congress government in the session. Soon after, the ruling Congress said it would too go for a trust vote to prove its majority in the House. According to the rules, if the chief minister moves a confidence motion, it will supersede the no-confidence motion moved by any other member.
Chief Minister Gehlot has been demanding a trust vote in the Assembly ever since the political crisis in the state erupted early in July, and has claimed the support of 102 MLAs. This includes the Independents, in the 200-member Assembly. Without the BSP MLAs, the numbers would have dropped to 96. But with the return of Pilot, whose rebellion had briefly endangered the Congress government, Gehlot has the support of 125 MLAs. The BJP has 72 MLAs.