New Delhi: Ahead of the assembly session in the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has written a letter to all 200 MLAs in the state, asking them to “stand with truth” and “save democracy”.
In his letter Sunday to the MLAs from parties including Congress, BJP and others, Gehlot asked them to stay clear of “wrong traditions” and thwart attempts to topple a democratically elected government.
“I appeal to all of you that to save democracy, to keep the faith of the public in us and to avoid wrong traditions you must listen to the voice of the public. Regardless of which party you belong to, by keeping the sentiment of people in mind you must be mindful of the fact that how an elected government continued to work for the people and hence it was able to thwart all attempts to topple the government,” Gehlot wrote.
The CM sought to highlight the work done by his Congress government since 2018 when it came to power. He also listed out how the government fought the Covid-19 pandemic, and took steps “to strengthen” the economy.
However, at a time when the government was busy making efforts to fight coronavirus in those circumstances, “some of our own people along with the opposition leaders tried to indulge in a conspiracy to topple a democratically elected government”, he said, adding, “This is unfortunate.”
The Rajasthan government is heading into the assembly session on 14 August in crisis mode. It has been struck by a rebellion by 19 MLAs, led by former deputy CM Sachin Pilot.
While the CM has emphasised that he has a majority in the 200-member House, he hasn’t mentioned a trust vote in his public statements. He has also alleged that the BJP is indulging in horse-trading to topple his government.
Gehlot said similar efforts were made to topple the late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat-led BJP government in the 1990s by buying and selling MLAs, but the Congress leader didn’t allow it to happen.
“I as the opposition leader had then reached out to the then Governor Shri Baliram Bhagat and Prime Minister Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, and opposed it as it is against democratic values to buy and sell, and topple the elected government and I consider it as a major political sin,” he said.
“The people of the state would not want to set up such a tradition. The public is angry over the present circumstances and is also angry with the MLAs who are part of this conspiracy,” said Gehlot.
The chief minister said the anti-defection law was enacted by the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1984 in public interest, and amendments to it were made by former Atal Bihari Vajpayee government too.
“During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, a provision was kept that two-third of the public representatives of any political party can come together and make a new party or they can merge with another,” he said explaining the law.
“In Rajasthan, 6 BSP MLAs under the same law decided to merge with the Congress keeping the interest of the public and stability of the government. This is completely lawful. But indulging in horse-trading and trying to buy and sell MLAs to destabilise a government can’t be justified. This is against healthy democracy and traditions,” he said.
Gehlot also cited the example of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee as leaders who also lost elections but didn’t make any attempts to weaken the democratic traditions and constitutional values.
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