Rajasthan Congress MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in his battle with rebel leader Sachin Pilot spent yet another weekend practicing yoga at Jaipur’s luxurious Fairmont Hotel, where they have been sequestered since the crisis began.
A video released by news agency ANI on Sunday showed the MLAs – dressed in t-shirts and tracksuits/shorts – on sheets and mats laid out in a concrete courtyard, with some stretching and others in what appeared to be a meditative pose.
Those visible in the video were not wearing face masks – mandatory in public spaces during the COVID-19 crisis – and many were sitting in apparent violation of social distancing rules.
Last week videos of the MLAs attending film screenings, singing Bollywood movie songs, playing group games and even taking cooking tips from the five-star resort’s executive chef went viral.
#WATCH Rajasthan: Congress MLAs perform yoga at Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur.
Congress MLAs supporting Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are staying at the hotel. pic.twitter.com/KRaVSM9Yfa
— ANI (@ANI) July 26, 2020
Today’s video emerged as Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra received a fresh proposal from Ashok Gehlot to start the Assembly session on July 31, with the COVID outbreak listed as the agenda.
An earlier proposal was turned down by Mr Mishra on Friday, prompting the Chief Minister and his MLAs to head out from the Fairmont and hold a four-hour long protest at the Governor’s residence, where they shouted slogans in support of Mr Gehlot and accused Mr Mishra of acting under BJP pressure.
On Saturday a BJP delegation led by Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia and the Leader of the Opposition, Gulab Chand Kataria, met the Governor and hit out at the Congress for threatening the Governor and declared the state was heading to a “constitutional crisis”.
The protests at the Governor’s residence came hours after the rebels, led by Sachin Pilot, secured a temporary reprieve from the Rajasthan High Court, which said they could not be disqualified, as the Congress had hoped, until the question of the Speaker’s powers is decided.
The Chief Minister has been pressing for an Assembly session so he can hold a trust vote and prove his majority; should Mr Gehlot win the vote, his government cannot be challenged for the next six months.
For now the Congress is just one past the majority mark of 101 in the 200-member Assembly. Team Pilot claims the support of 30 MLAs, but so far, the evidence points to only 19.
The BJP has 72 and the opposition as a whole, including smaller parties and independent members, has 97 at the moment.