The Congress initiated late on Tuesday the process of disqualifying legislators who failed to attend two consecutive legislature party meetings in Jaipur as the party scrambled to shore up its numbers and save its government.
The decision came hours after Sachin Pilot was removed as deputy chief minister and two other ministers, Vishwendra Singh and Ramesh Meena, were dropped from the cabinet. Singh and Meena are considered close associates of 42-year-old Pilot.
Congress general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, said the party had initiated the process of issuing notices to the MLAs who did not attend the Congress Legislature Party meeting by submitting a petition before assembly speaker CP Joshi.
He said the absence of the MLAs from the CLP meeting amounted to giving up their membership of the party voluntarily as they tried to destabilise the government. “We have filed a petition before the speaker for dismissal, if the replies aren’t found justified, then it is up to the speaker to decide the action,” said Pande.
There was no immediate response from the office of speaker CP Joshi. None of the MLAs who skipped the two meetings – one on Monday and one on Tuesday – was available for comment.
To be sure, Pilot has neither been expelled nor has he formally quit the primary membership of the party. The same holds true for all the other rebel MLAs.
Pande refused to specify the number of MLAs who will get the and when asked, only said, “All who were absent from the CLP.”
Senior Congress leaders confirmed to HT that 88 party MLAs attended Monday’s meeting while 86 were present at Tuesday’s meeting. Two MLAs – speaker Joshi and minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal, who is in hospital, were not expected to attend.
Late on Tuesday, the Congress also dissolved the state executive, all department and cells of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee. With the appointment of the new state president, a new state executive, departments and cells will be constituted again, said Pande.