Sachin Pilot's Big Court Test Today: 10 Points

Sachin Pilot is at the heart of Rajasthan crisis for the Congress.

Jaipur/ New Delhi:
The petition by Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs challenging disqualification will be taken up again today by the Rajasthan High Court amid speculation of a test of strength by the state’s Ashok Gehlot government this week. A court decision on whether the rebels can be disqualified by the Rajasthan Congress will have a bearing on the floor test. Last week, the Congress had told the court that no action would be taken against the rebels till Tuesday.

Here are the latest developments in this big story:

  1. Sachin Pilot and other rebels were served notice for “anti-party activity” after they skipped to meetings of Congress MLAs called by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last week.

  2. Team Pilot, which has been staying in two resorts near Delhi for over a week, has argued in court that such notices cannot be served by the Rajasthan Speaker when the assembly is not in session.

  3. The rebels have also contested a constitutional rule that disqualifies MLAs if they “voluntarily” give up the membership of the party that they represent.

  4. Alongside the court case, the Rajasthan police continues its investigations into alleged deal-making by the rebels to dislodge the Congress government. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claims proof that Sachin Pilot, sacked as his deputy last week, had a role in a BJP-driven plan to bribe Congress MLAs to turn against their government.

  5. Sachin Pilot, served summons on July 10 to answer questions in the investigation ordered by the Chief Minister, openly revolted against his party and shifted base to Delhi.

  6. The Congress leadership has reached out to Mr Pilot several times, but its efforts in Delhi have contrasted sharply with the Ashok Gehlot government’s tough stance. Mr Pilot has been removed as Deputy Chief Miniser, Rajasthan Congress chief and has also been served notice for disqualification.

  7. Last week, the Congress alleged that audio tapes that emerged online confirmed the involvement of at least two rebel MLAs, along with Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of the BJP, in a conspiracy to dislodge the Gehlot government.

  8. The rebels, Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishwendra Singh, have been suspended. The team of the Rajasthan police, which went to the Haryana resorts in search of the MLAs, has so far drawn a blank. The police say they want to record voice samples of the MLAs to establish whether they were the men heard in the audio of “horse-trading”.

  9. On Friday evening, the team of the Rajasthan police Special Operations Group landed at ITC Bharat Grand in Manesar near Delhi, and was stopped by a large number of police in the BJP-ruled Haryana. When they were finally allowed in, they did not find team Pilot.

  10. The Rajasthan police went to the second resort, Best Western, late last night, but the gates did not open and they left after 20 minutes.

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