Rajasthan assembly speaker slaps anti-defection notice on Pilot, 18 other MLAs

IN GOOD TIMES: Ashok Gehlot (left) with Sachin Pilot

Rajasthan assembly Speaker C P Joshi issued anti-defection notices to Sachin Pilot and 18 of his supporters on Wednesday for being absent in legislature party meetings held on Monday and Tuesday. Pilot and his 18 rebel MLAs were accused of violating the party whip, thereby inviting disqualification from the assembly.

The notices are being seen as a move to mount pressure on rebel MLAs and to indicate the ruling Congress Party’s resolve to deal with rebellions.

The MLAs have been accused of conspiring to topple the state government led by chief minister Ashok Gehlot in connivance with BJP. The notices issued on Wednesday have to be replied to by July 17 and are likely to set the stage for a politico-legal battle as the rebels are bound to approach courts in the event the Speaker finally disqualifies them and they lose their membership of the assembly.

Meanwhile, opposition leader 
Gulab Chand Kataria questioned the notices issued by the Speaker to rebel MLAs and claimed that “party whip is binding on members only for their business in the House. BJP is consulting legal experts”.