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Ashok Gehlot govt may find it difficult if floor test takes place before disqualification of MLAs

NEW DELHI: Rajasthan assembly Speaker’s move to file a special leave petition in the SC seeking permission to go ahead with the process of hearing the 19 rebel Congress MLAs led by Sachin Pilot has given credence to the belief that the Gehlot government is precariously placed as the numbers on the two sides are very close.

While Gehlot has claimed that he commands a majority in the assembly, it is a touch-and-go situation which may turn against the state government in the coming days if BJP succeeds in its plans. In the 200-member House, BJP has 72 MLAs while its ally RLP has three. Pilot is likely to get the support of three of the 13 independents.

This would take the tally of the anti-Gehlot group to 97. One Congress MLA, Bhanwarlal Meghwal, a Pilot loyalist, is seriously unwell and not in aposition to cast his vote. The speaker can vote only in case of a tie. The two BTP MLAs have kept both sides guessing about their support and their position will be clear only in the House when a floor test is held.

This puts a question mark on Gehlot’s stand that he has the support of 105 or more MLAs. BJP insiders maintain that the Speaker’s step of filing an SLP vindicates their stand that the Gehlot government is in a minority. Congress has realised that disqualification of 19 rebels is the only way to save the government, they said.

The SLP is aimed at pre-empting an adverse HC verdict. If the court orders a floor test, there are strong chances that the government will lose. Though defying the whip will lead to disqualification of the rebels, their vote will be counted as per the rules.

There are clear indications that the opposition camp is engaged in behind-the-scenes activity to wean away more MLAs from the Gehlot camp. The chief minister wrote a letter to the PM expressing his concern over possibilities of horse-trading.

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