Jaipur/ New Delhi:
Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion has pushed the Rajasthan Congress government to the edge, today posted birthday greetings for the man he is fighting in court — Speaker CP Joshi.
“Best wishes to Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi on his birthday. I pray for his health and long life,” the Congress rebel tweeted in Hindi.
Mr Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs are waiting for the High Court’s decision on their challenge to the Speaker’s disqualification notices two weeks ago. Until a decision is announced, they have been granted protection from any action by the Speaker.
The Speaker had served the notices on July 15, asking the rebels why they should not be disqualified after they skipped two meetings of Congress legislators which, he said, amounted to “voluntarily giving up their party membership”.
Mr Joshi requested the Supreme Court to stop the High Court from deciding on the rebels’ petition, arguing that as Speaker, he is empowered by the constitution to take action. The Supreme Court last week refused to stop the case, saying the “voice of dissent can’t be suppressed” in a democracy.
On Monday, the Speaker dropped his case in the Supreme Court.
Whether the Speaker can disqualify the rebels will decide their strategy versus Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who sacked Mr Pilot as his deputy days after the 42-year-old left Jaipur for Delhi, the base camp for the rebels.
The Chief Minister is currently fighting for an assembly session from Friday and yesterday sent his third proposal to Governor Kalraj Mishra, who raised doubts on two previous requests.
Mr Gehlot claims he has the numbers to fight off the challenge by team Pilot, but the rebels contest that.