Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said an assembly session will be called soon and his government will prove its majority.
"The session of the assembly will take place soon. The majority is with us, all Congress MLAs are united," he said.
Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken also said the party is confident of the numbers and will convene a session of the state assembly at an "opportune time" to prove its majority.
Gehlot hoped that some of the dissident MLAs, who are led by sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, will also attend the session when it is called "very soon".
"Without them too, we have a full majority and will go to the House on the basis of this majority, and we will prove it," he said.
Later on Thursday, Gehlot also met Governor Kalraj Mishra at the Raj Bhawan in what was described as a "courtesy call" -- the 20-minute discussion revolved around the possibility of calling a session of the Vidhan Sabha, said Congress sources.
Rajasthan Congress Chief Govind Singh Dotasra also seconded Gehlot's statement, saying his party's government has the majority figure, which is far more than what is required. "The government has the majority figure... 100%... far more than the government requires," he said.
To a question of holding an assembly session, Dotsara said, "We are ready. If our chief minister calls the House, we are ready for the floor test."
The indication that the Gehlot government is preparing for a floor test came a day ahead of the expected pronouncement of a high court order on the disqualification notices sent by the Speaker to the rebel MLAs. But any Rajasthan High Court order will be subject to the outcome of a petition by the Rajasthan Speaker that the Supreme Court is now hearing.
The 19 dissident MLAs had filed a petition in the high court, challenging the disqualification notices.
Maken said the party does not need to wait for the Supreme Court verdict as far as the floor test is concerned as it has the majority number with it. He said a section within the party also feels that the floor test should be conducted after the court verdict with regard to the rebel Congress MLAs.
"We are very confident as we have got the numbers with us and we will prove the majority on the floor of the House. We have a comfortable majority and we will call a session at the opportune time," he told reporters at a virtual press conference.
Maken said there are two views within the party, with a section feeling they should wait for the high court decision and conduct a floor test once the decision comes on Friday so that no one has anything to wait for any court decision.
"But as far as the floor test is concerned, we are very confident that we will easily prove the majority mark. And there will be at least 15-20 members' difference between the MLAs, who are in favour of the government and those against the government," he said.
Asked when the assembly session would be convened, he said the same would be done "at an opportune time".
'Rebel MLAs held hostage'
Gehlot said those who went to court are the ones who were wrong and had been misguided. "They are calling us and saying they are unable to come out," he said, hinting at reports that the rebel MLAs are camping together, just like the ones in his camp. "Bouncers are deployed," he alleged.
Gehlot said the coronavirus pandemic and political issues will be discussed in the assembly session.
Including the dissidents who face the possibility of disqualification, the Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-member state assembly and the BJP 72.
Targeting Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Gehlot said the audio clips indicating an alleged plot to topple his government can be sent abroad for forensic tests. Without taking the minister's name, Gehlot questioned why he is not coming forward to give a voice sample.
Rejecting the charge that the audio clips are fabricated, he said they can be sent to any forensic science laboratory for examination. "We can send it for FSL testing to America if they have no trust in the Rajasthan government," he said, adding the Congress also did not trust the Centre.
Shekhawat has rejected the charge that it is his voice in one of the three clips. The party has accused the BJP of engineering a plot to lure Congress MLAs away.
When asked about the raids in the state, Gehlot claimed that the central agencies were acting on the directions of Union Home Minister Amit Shah under "Modi raj". The Enforcement Directorate recently searched the premises of his brother as part of a nationwide investigation into an alleged fertiliser export scam.
"We are not afraid of the raids and our mission is not going to stop," said Gehlot. "The BJP policies and programmes are going to ruin the country. They are fascist people and are murdering democracy."
(With inputs from agencies)