Indian National Congress (INC) politician Kapil Sibal told party rebel Sachin Pilot today through a news conference, “You can’t be chief minister of a state with the support of just 20-25 legislators,” hours after the sacked Rajasthan deputy chief minister got a temporary reprieve at the high court. “You can’t make the party a tamasha (spectacle) before the public,” Sibal said.
“I want to ask Sachin, do you want to become chief minister? Tell us. Why protest? If you say you are not joining the BJP, why are you sitting in Haryana? Why didn’t you attend Congress meetings?” Sibal posed.
“Do you want to form your own party? Whatever it is, come out and speak. Don’t sit inside a hotel,” Sibal, a senior advocate who represented the Rajasthan speaker in the case where Pilot and MLAs supporting him had dragged CP Joshi to the Supreme Court, challenging their disqualification from the assembly.
“The party is intrigued by your actions. You can’t make the party a tamasha before the public. I am sure that is not your intention,” Sibal said.
Sibal attacks Kalraj Mishra too
Sibal attacked Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra too — for not calling an assembly session. Sibal accused Mishra of ignoring his constitutional responsibility and acting at the instance of the central government.
“There is today a new definition of democracy and a new way of functioning of governors of states in this country. Governors are supposed to uphold the Constitution and the laws, but governors in this country are acting at the behest of the Union government,” Sibal said.
Over the past two weeks, Pilot has challenged Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot time and again with the support of 18 other MLAs who are cloistered in BJP-ruled Haryana.
The INC 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.
The INC today said it will approach the Supreme Court hours after the Rajasthan High Court said no action could be taken against Sachin Pilot and other rebel party leaders for now.
The order may appear as a reprieve for the INC rebels against immediate disqualification even though the verdict did not come about. The high court accepted Pilot & Co’s eleventh-hour request to add the union government to the case so it can weigh in on whether the anti-defection law applies to them.
Yesterday, the apex court, where Sibal defended the speaker, had refused to stop the high court from delivering the verdict. But the highest court also rebuked Joshi for questioning why Pilot brought the matter to the court, saying the “voice of dissent” cannot be suppressed in a democracy.
Sibal said today to a television channel, “How does the court know it is dissent within the party? His demand was to become Chief Minister in a year. Is it dissent?”
On the high court order, Sibal said, “If judges of high courts are not going to follow orders laid down by five judges of the Supreme Court, I might as well take off my robes.”