Rajasthan Crisis: The Sachin Pilot camp had challenged their disqualification notices in High Court.

New Delhi:
No action can be taken against Sachin Pilot and other rebel Congress leaders for now, the Rajasthan High Court said today, in a reprieve for the group against disqualification. The court said there will be “status quo” until its decision on the rebels’ petition against disqualification notices. The verdict, which was expected today, has been delayed after the court accepted team Pilot’s eleventh-hour request to add the centre to the case so it can weigh in on whether the anti-defection law applies to them. Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to stop the High Court from delivering the verdict that is likely to impact the revolt-hit Congress government in Rajasthan, saying the “voice of dissent” cannot be suppressed in a democracy. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot indicated that he is preparing for a floor test as he met the Governor last evening.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to the Rajasthan crisis:

  1. The Rajasthan High Court is hearing the petition of 19 rebel MLAs including Sachin Pilot challenging disqualification notices served to them by Speaker CP Joshi last week after they skipped two meetings called by the Chief Minister. The court has made the centre a party to the case to seek its views on the validity of the anti-defection law in the case of the rebels.

  2. This is the third time that the Speaker has been asked by the High Court to defer action against the rebels. No court can ask him to do that, the Speaker had argued in the Supreme Court yesterday, but there was no decision on it.

  3. The Supreme Court, which heard the case through video-conferencing, said the issues raised in the Speaker’s petition required “prolonged hearing” as it involved a “larger question” related to the democracy and how it will survive. But the court said the high court’s ruling would be subject to its final decision.

  4. Hours after team Pilot scored in the Supreme Court, Ashok Gehlot told reporters that an assembly session would be called “very soon”. He also met Governor Kalraj Mishra for the third time since the rebel crisis broke out. “We have a majority,” he reportedly told the Governor.

  5. “We will call the assembly session soon. We have a majority. All Congress MLAs are united,” the Chief Minister told reporters, reflecting the Congress’s strategy to prepare for a test of strength.

  6. If the rebels win their case, they can vote in the assembly and pose a serious threat to Mr Gehlot’s government. If they don’t, their disqualification will help the Chief Minister by bringing down the majority mark.

  7. The Congress has a narrow lead over the opposition and has only two more than the majority-mark of 101 in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. Team Pilot has 19 MLAs and the BJP has 72. Including smaller parties and independent members, the opposition has 97 at the moment.

  8. Mr Pilot has emphatically denied his former boss Mr Gehlot’s allegation that he was conspiring with the BJP to bring down the Congress government in which he was Deputy Chief Minister until he was sacked last week. He and other rebels have argued in court that they do not intend to quit the Congress; they only want a change in the leadership.

  9. The Rajasthan police’s Special Operation Group, ordered by Mr Gehlot to investigate what he calls “horse-trading” of MLAs, has been trying to track down two rebel MLAs in Mr Pilot’s camp.

  10. The Congress alleges these MLAs were caught on audio making deals with Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of the BJP.

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