Madhya Pradesh: Gov Tandon asks CM Kamal Nath to conduct floor-test on March 17th
After MP Governor Lalji Tandon's address, the House has been adjourned until March 26. This means no trust vote can be conducted in the Madhya Pradesh assembly till then. The Kamal Nath-led Congress government has got atleast a ten-day extension.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath has added a new twist to the political crisis looming over the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Governor Lalji Tandon in his letter to Nath had asked him to hold the trust vote in the assembly on March 16 and to prove the majority of his government. However, the MP assembly’s list of business for the day doesn’t mention the holding of a floor test or trust vote.
So it remains unclear whether MP Assembly speaker NP Prajapati will conduct the proceedings of the floor test today.
Today’s schedule as per the list of business
Governor Tandon will address the MP Assembly today which would mark the beginning of the budget session in the state assembly. According to the list of business issued by the assembly, the governor’s speech will be followed by CM Nath’s address. And that would conclude the proceedings of the day in the MP assembly.
The list of business fails to mention the holding of any trust vote or floor test.
Floor test order by the Governor
Tandon, the MP Governor, in his letter to Kamal Nath had asked him to prove the majority of his government in the state.
“The only business after my address in the House will be voting on the state government’s trust motion,” Tandon had written to MP CM Nath. He very specifically asked the entire proceeding to be videographed and to ensure that “in any way the proceedings will not be deferred, delayed or suspended”.
Tandon had earlier asked that the trust vote in the assembly should be done by the pressing of a button, that is, through electronic voting machines.
However, in a late Sunday evening communication, Tandon asked the MP CM to conduct the trust vote only through raising of hands. This directive came right after the letter from the BJP state unit.
Meanwhile, Kamal Nath has maintained that the Congress will not “allow the BJP to succeed in its design” and that he is “confident about the government proving its majority” in the house.
But he has dodged the questions on whether his government will seek the trust vote today saying that it is the speaker’s prerogative. He continues to maintain his stance that 19 Congress MLAs were held captive in Bengaluru and that the voting has meaning when it is held in a free atmosphere.
As per constitutional tradition, the governor can only recommend the floor test; however, the decision of when and how to hold a floor test is an exclusive right of the state assembly speaker.
Meanwhile, former MP CM Chouhan has accused MP CM Nath of trying to dodge a trust-vote. “Madhya Pradesh govt has lost its majority, that is why they are running away from it,” Chouhan had said. He further had further added, “Chief Minister has said he wants a floor test, then why is he not doing it?”
Nath heading a minority government
After a coup attempt by former senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, MP CM Kamal Nath is, for all practical purposes, heading a minority government. Of 114 Congress legislators 22 had rebelled against Kamal Nath and joined Scindia camp. They had tendered their resignation to MP speaker Prajapati. The Congress had alleged that these resignations had been delivered to the speaker by the Bharatiya Janata Party and that the state unit-led by former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was indulging in “horse-trading”.
MP assembly speaker Prajapati has accepted the resignation of six Congress ministers from the Scindia lobby, reducing the numbers of rebels by 16.
After the rebellion, the Congress camp was reduced to 92 MLAs. The party has flown back its remaining legislators to Bhopal ahead of the expected floor test in the MP assembly. The BJP too has shifted back its MLAs from Haryana's Manesar hotel to the state capital.
The BJP is most likely expected to take the budget session by a storm if the Congress tries to dodge the trust vote.
MP has 7 legislators – two from Bahujan Samaj Party, one from Samajwadi Party and four independent – who had extended their support to the Kamal Nath government. It is yet to be seen which camp they will eventually side with once the confidence motion is brought in Madhya Pradesh.
According to reports, MP Governor Lalji Tandon has written to CM Nath asking him to conduct the floor test on 17th March. "Otherwise it will be considered that you actually don't have the majority in the state assembly,' the Governor has said in the letter.
Former MP CM, Shivraj Singh Chouhan claimed that the BJP has a majority in the state assembly.
"The Chief Minister is running away from the trust vote as he knows that his government doesn't have a majority," Chouhan said while addressing the media in Bhopal. He further added, "BJP has the majority. We have appealed the Governor to issue an order for the conduct of floor test at earliest. He has assured us to protect our constitutional rights."
“They have disrespected the traditions of democracy by not following the orders of the honourable Governor,” BJP vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan said inside the Raj Bhavan. He told MP Governor Tandon, “106 BJP MLAs are here to submit their affidavit.”
“The present government is in minority. The floor test should be conducted without any delay so that the minority government can be ousted. And the party which wins the floor test should be allowed to govern the state,” the former MP CM said.
Governor Tandon assured the BJP MLAs that appropriate action will be taken and that "no one will violate your rights".
Madhya Pradesh BJP MLAs-led by former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan met Governor Lalji Tandon at Raj Bhavan in Bhopal. The BJP legislators held a strength parade infront of Tandon.
But the MP assembly speaker did not follow the governor's recommendation to hold the floor test. The speaked cited the coronavirus outbreak.
The apex court will hear the plea on Tuesday, that is, March 17th. Chouhan's plea seeks urgent directions to MP assembly speaker NP Prajapati to hold the floor-test in the assembly within 48 hours.
After the House was adjourned, Congress leader Digvijay Singh met Governor Lalji Tandon in Bhopal. However, Singh told the media that it was a courtesy meeting and not related to politics.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking a floor test in Madhya Pradesh assembly.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by Bharatiya Janata Party seeking floor test in Madhya Pradesh Assembly pic.twitter.com/ZE8Fth55dJ
— ANI (@ANI) March 16, 2020
Governor Lalji Tandon had asked MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath to conduct the trust-vote today and prove the majority of his government. However, the House was adjourned until March 26th by MP Assembly speaker, NP Prajapati giving atleast a ten-day extension to 15-month-old Congress government.
Uphold the constitution, save democratic traditions: Gov Tandon advices to Madhya Pradesh MLAs
Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon, during an extremely brief address in the assembly asked the legislators to uphold the values of the Constitution.
“Considering the current situation in the state, I want to advice all members of the house that every member should discharge their duties peacefully, with honesty and in accordance with the provisions laid down in the Constitution.”
He further said, “the members should act in a way which can save the democratic traditions and pride of Madhya Pradesh”.
Governor Tandon left the floor of the house along with MP assembly speaker NP Prajapati.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had unsuccessfully tried to gain the attention of the MP Governor. The saffron party has been claiming that Kamal Nath-led MP government has been reduced to a minority.
Former Chief Minister and BJP vice president, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has accused Kamal Nath of trying to dodge a floor test by shielding behind the speaker. “CM Kamal Nath has said that the decision on floor test has to be taken by the speaker. He is trying to look innocent,” Chouhan had said earlier. He claimed that it is the state government which decides the list of business of the House. “The speaker conducts the House as per the business decided by the government,” Chouhan had said.
After MP Governor Lalji Tandon's address, the House has been adjourned until March 26. This means no trust vote can be conducted in the Madhya Pradesh assembly till then. The Kamal Nath-led Congress government has got atleast a ten-day extension