JAIPUR: Within hours of the Supreme Court notice to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker on the merger of six BSP MLAs into the ruling Congress legislature party on Thursday, the BJP High Command summoned three of its top leaders from the state for an emergency meeting in Delhi. BJP chief of the state unit Satish Poonia, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Gulab Chand Kataria, and his deputy leader Rajendra Rathore were asked to rush to Delhi for a meeting with national BJP President J P Nadda.
The emergency meeting between the BJP’s ‘top trio’ and the party high command is being linked to the top court issuing notices to Speaker CP Joshi and six former BSP MLAs on a plea seeking stay on his decision allowing the BSP MLAs to merge with the Congress. Besides, the BSP-Congress merger controversy, some say the discussions in the BJP high command may also revolve around the recent break up with the Hanuman Beniwal-led RLP over the farmers’ agitation. In addition, the state is getting ready for by-elections to three seats of the Rajasthan Assembly.
The controversial merger in 2019 was a big boost to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, as the tally of the Congress crossed 100 in the House of 200 MLAs. The merger had come into sharp focus during the Sachin Pilot-led revolt last July-August as it played a vital role in enabling the Ashok Gehlot-led state government to retain its majority.
Since then, the Poonia-Kataria-Rathore trio has been repeatedly asserting that the Gehlot government would fall within six months. Recently, Gehlot had claimed that the BJP was making efforts to topple his government.The high command has reportedly kept former chief minister Vasundhara Raje away from the Delhi meeting. At the height of the political crisis after Pilot’s revolt, there were rumours that Raje had helped save the Gehlot government from being toppled.
The apex court on Thursday heard separate petitions filed by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and BJP MLA Madan Dilawar against the August 24 last year order passed by the Rajasthan High Court. The High Court had dismissed the BSP’s petition against the September 18, 2019 order passed by the Assembly Speaker approving the merger. It had, however, allowed the BSP to file a disqualification petition with the Speaker raising plea of defection of the six legislators. The Rajasthan High Court had asked the Speaker to decide within three months the disqualification petition filed by the BJP MLA against the merger.
Raje kept away
The BJP has kept Vasundhara Raje away from the meeting. At the height of the crisis, there were rumours that Raje had helped save the Gehlot government