CM Kamal Nath asks for a floor-test date but can he save Congress government?
After meeting Governor Lalji Tandon, MP CM Kamal Nath seeks floor-test in the assembly, but says, floor test possible only when “22 captive MLAs” are released by the BJP
The political crisis in Madhya Pradesh is not yet over. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged for a floor test to be conducted in the MP assembly on March 16, Kamal Nath continues to make efforts to save his 15-month-old government. The MP CM met Governor Lalji Tandon in the middle of the political upheaval in the state, which was triggered by the Jyotiraditya Scindia camp-attempted coup.
Notably, 22 Congress legislators from the Scindia camp have resigned from their membership. This has virtually taken away the majority of the Congress government, and the Nath government is on the verge of collapsing after the Scindia jolt.
The MP CM, while entering the governor’s house, showed a victory symbol to the media cameras present outside.
During the meeting at Raj Bhavan in Bhopal, Kamal Nath handed over a letter to the governor alleging “horse-trading” of 19 Congress legislators by the BJP. He has requested Governor Tandon to ensure the “release of MLAs held in captivity in Bengaluru”.
Importantly, the MP CM has sought a date from Governor Lalji Tandon to conduct a floor test in the state assembly.
Kamal Nath has suggested that the floor test should be conducted on March 16th - the day designated for the forthcoming assembly session.
After the meeting, Kamal Nath told the media, “Floor test will happen on Governor's address but it is only possible when 22 MLAs are freed from captivity.”
The BJP is claiming that the Kamal Nath government has lost its majority after the flurry of resignations from the Congress legislators in the state.
Kamal Nath, in his letter to Governor Tandon, has said that “The very edifice of democracy is in danger. Trust of a transparent democratic process seems lost.”
He has alleged that 19 Congress MLAs – including six ministers - have been held “captive” in a resort in Bengaluru. Kamal Nath has accused the BJP of orchestrating the political crisis in Madhya Pradesh and indulging in “horse-trading”.
Notably, at least 19 MLAs of the Scindia camp have been shifted to a resort in Bengaluru – the capital of a BJP governed state. Several attempts of the Congress leadership to reach out to these MLAs have failed, as the entry to the resort is allegedly restricted.
Kamal Nath’s meeting with Tandon comes amid unconfirmed reports that six Congress ministers, believed to be close to Scindia, will be coming to Bhopal from Bengaluru to hand over their resignation letters to the assembly speaker NP Prajapati. The Congress has failed to rope them in.
On Thursday, former union minister Scindia joined the BJP. The former Congress general secretary alleged that he was being sidelined in the state politics and that the Congress leadership chose to look in the other direction. The Scindia camp had been pitching to make the former Guna MP the new state unit president of the party. His camp was fast losing their grip in the power circles of MP as senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s group are increasing their clout. While Kamal Nath and Singh are believed to be closer, Singh and Scindia belong to warring factions. According to sources, even young leaders such as Jitu Patwari and Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh had gained more clout in the government.
Notably, the resignations of 19 Congress MLAs and ministers --close to Scindia-- were handed over to the assembly speaker Prajapati on Holi, that is, March 10.
The Congress has alleged that these MLAs are incommunicado and that even their family members are not allowed to meet them. Citing an example in the letter to the MP Governor, Kamal Nath has claimed that Congress MLA Manoj Choudhary’s father Narayan Singh Choudhary and minister Patwari had gone to meet the legislator in the Bengaluru resort on March 12, but they were denied access.
Meanwhile, ahead of the floor test, the Congress has shifted the rest of its MLAs to a hotel in Congress-governed Rajasthan’s Jaipur, and the BJP has shifted its legislators to a hotel in Haryana’s Manesar. The BJP is mounting pressure on the Congress to go for a trust vote in the assembly and prove the majority of its government.
While Kamal Nath has been claiming that he is confident of winning the trust vote, there is no doubt that the crisis for the Congress is intensifying.