- This is third time that Speaker was asked to defer action against rebels
- Court has accepted rebels request to make the centre party in the case
- "We have a majority, will call the assembly session soon": Ashok Gehlot
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to the Rajasthan crisis:
Ashok Gehlot will take all Congress MLAs with him to the Governor in a show of strength, and is expected to call for an assembly session soon.
The Chief Minister moved after the Rajasthan High Court deferred its decision on the petition of 19 rebel MLAs including Sachin Pilot challenging disqualification notices served to them by Speaker CP Joshi last week. The court has made the centre a party to the case to seek its views on the validity of the anti-defection law in the case of the rebels.
This is the third time that the Speaker has been asked by the High Court to defer action against the rebels. No court can ask him to do that, the Speaker had argued in the Supreme Court yesterday, but there was no decision on it.
The Supreme Court said the issues raised in the Speaker's petition required "prolonged hearing" as it involved a "larger question" related to the democracy and how it will survive. But the high court's ruling will be subject to the top court's final decision.
Hours after team Pilot scored in the Supreme Court, Ashok Gehlot told reporters that an assembly session would be called "very soon". He also met the Governor for the third time since the rebel crisis broke out. "We have a majority," he reportedly told the Governor.
"We will call the assembly session soon. We have a majority. All Congress MLAs are united," the Chief Minister told reporters, reflecting the Congress's strategy to prepare for a test of strength.
If the rebels escape disqualification, they can vote in the assembly and pose a serious threat to Mr Gehlot's government. If they don't, their disqualification will help the Chief Minister by bringing down the majority mark.
The Congress 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.
Mr Pilot has emphatically denied his former boss Mr Gehlot's allegation that he was conspiring with the BJP to bring down the Congress government in which he was Deputy Chief Minister until he was sacked last week. He and other rebels have argued in court that they do not intend to quit the Congress; they only want a change in the leadership.
The Rajasthan police's Special Operation Group, ordered by Mr Gehlot to investigate what he calls "horse-trading" of MLAs, has been trying to track down two rebel MLAs in Mr Pilot's camp. The Congress alleges these MLAs were caught on audio making deals with Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of the BJP.