The Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday faced an upheaval after party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned, following which 22 MLAs also quit. Earlier in the day, the Congress expelled Scindia for “anti-party activities”.
The former Union minister resigned after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. The MLAs loyal to Scindia in the Madhya Pradesh Congress had earlier landed in Bengaluru, prompting an emergency meeting of the state Cabinet and their subsequent resignation on Monday.
Reports said the four-time parliamentarian will be joining Bharatiya Janata Party later in the day.
The Congress held 114 seats, and enjoys the support of four independent MLAs, two Bahujan Samaj Party and a Samajwadi Party MLA, the BJP has 107 seats in the 230-member Assembly. However, after the 22 resignations, the party’s MLA strength in the House has depleted to 92.
Here are the day’s top updates:
9.53 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath says there is nothing to worry about and that his government will prove its majority in the House.
9.47 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs are being flown out of Bhopal to an unknown location, according to reports.
9. 35 pm: Madhya Pradesh BJP MLAs are leaving Bhopal and heading to Bengaluru or Delhi, MLA Vijay Shah tells ANI.
9 pm: The Congress legislative party passed a resolution in Bhopal condemning “the manner in which attempt has been made to insult the people’s mandate by satisfying the personal ambitions of Jyotiraditya Scindia”, ANI reports. The resolution also thanks Congress President Sonia Gandhi for expelling Scindia from the party’s primary membership.
8.36 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seen leaving from the BJP headquarters in Delhi after the party’s Central Election Committee meeting.
8.32 pm: Congress leader Shobha Oza says the party’s meeting has been concluded. “All Congress MLAs, including Independents, were present,” she tells ANI. “We have the number, we’ll fight this together. MLAs who were rounded up were told that [Jyotiraditya] Scindiaji has to demand a Rajya Sabha seat so they need to come together.”
Oza adds that when discussions of Jyotiraditya Scindia going to BJP began, the MLAs became angry. “They are all in contact with Chief Minister [Kamal Nath]. The government has no threat, we will prove the majority in the Assembly,” she says.
8.29 pm: Congress leader Laxman Singh says his party is ready to fight back if required. “We have 94 MLAs, nobody can break the morale of the party,” he says, according to ANI.
6.33 pm: A Congress worker removes the name plate of the party’s former leader Jyotiraditya Scindia from the Pradesh Congress Committee office in Bhopal on Tuesday.
6.19 pm: Meeting of the BJP’s Central Election Committee begins at the party’s headquarters, reports ANI.
6.17 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, reports ANI.
6.10 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari arrive at BJP headquarters, reports ANI.
6.02 pm: Prajapati tells ANI he “will take action according to the established procedure” of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
6.01 pm: Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Gopal Bhargava, Narottam Mishra, and several other BJP leaders arrive at the residence of Speaker NP Prajapati to submit the resignations of 19 Congress MLAs, reports ANI.
5.42 pm: On questions about whether the Congress has the required numbers in the state Assembly, party’s leader PC Sharma tells ANI: “Certainly a new thing will come up. You will get to see Kamal Nath’s masterstroke.”
5.40 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia refuses to comment on the ongoing political crisis in Madhya Pradesh following his resignation this morning. The former Congress leaders responds with “Happy Holi” to questions from reporters.
5.19 pm: A BSP MLA, and another legislator from Samajwadi Party meets BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, reports PTI.
5.17 pm: “I have come to Bhopal with the resignations of 19 MLAs who are currently in Bengaluru,” BJP leader Bhupendra Singh tells ANI. “The number can increase till 30 by evening as many people are willing to join BJP.”
4.48 pm: Another Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA, Manoj Choudhary has also resigned from the legislative Assembly, reports ANI. He was a legislator from the Hatpipliya constituency in Dewas district. This takes the total the number of MLAs who resigned from the Assembly to 22.
4.35 pm: Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi has also quit the party, reports PTI. He was a close confidante of Jyotiraditya Scindia.
4.31 pm: List of 21 Congress MLAs who have resigned so far, according to PTI:
- Tulsi Silawat.
- Govind Singh Rajput.
- Prabhuram Choudhry.
- Imarti Devi.
- Pradyumna Singh Tomar.
- Mahendra Singh Sisodia.
- Biasahulal Singh.
- Aidalsingh Kansana.
- Raghuraj Kansana.
- Giriraj Dandotiya.
- Kamlesh Jatav.
- OPS Bhadoria.
- Ranveer Singh Jatav.
- Munnalal Goyal.
- Santram Sironia.
- Jaspal Jajji.
- Suresh Dhakad.
- Brajendra Singh Yadav.
- Jaswant Jatav.
- Rajyavardhan Singh.
- Hardeep Singh Dang.
4.24 pm: With 20 MLAs resigning, the strength of the Congress in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly has fallen to 94, according to the The Times of India. In the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the Congress earlier had 114 MLAs and the BJP 107. Out of the rest of the seats, the BSP has two and the Samajwadi Party has one. Four are Independent MLAs, while two seats are currently vacant.
4.13 pm: Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA from Sumawali (Morena) Adal Singh Kansana has resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly, reports ANI.
4.10 pm: A meeting between BJP President JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the ongoing political situation in Madhya Pradesh has concluded, reports ANI.
4 pm: After SP MLA Rajesh Shukla and BSP lawmaker Sanjeev Kushwaha are seen at BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister tells ANI: “They have just come here to meet me on the occasion of Holi. There is no politics in it.”
3.57 pm: On Madhya Pradesh’s political turmoil, Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao says it is time for former chief Rahul Gandhi to lead the party, reports PTI.
3.55 pm: “Resigned from Congress because despite being senior-most MLA, I was feeling neglected,” says Bisahulal Singh, one of the 19 legislators who resigned, reports PTI.
3.34 pm: “I am proud of my father for taking a stand for himself,” tweets Jyotiraditya Scindia’s son Mahanarayaman Scindia. “It takes courage to resign from a legacy. History can speak for itself when I say my family has never been power hungry. As promised we will make an impactful change in India and Madhya Pradesh wherever our future lies.”
3.17 pm: Congress MLA Bisahulal Singh has joined the BJP in the presence of the party’s leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, reports The Indian Express. Singh has claimed that more Congress MLAs, apart from those in Bengaluru, will quit and join the saffron party.
Bisahulal Singh was among the MLAs who the Congress had alleged were being held hostage in a hotel in Gurugram, Haryana last week.
3.11 pm: Samajwadi Party MLA Rajesh Shukla and BSP MLA Sanjeev Kushwaha arrive at BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence, reports ANI.
3.03 pm: BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hails Scindia’s decision to resign from the primary membership of Congress. “A great Holi this is,” he tweets. “Heartening to see old colleague, and very dynamic Scindia having come to the fold of BJP, a party that’s a rangoli of all colors and believes in taking everyone along. We shall have a great time together.”
2.58 pm: Indian Youth Congress chief Srinivas BV slams Jyotiraditya Scindia for quitting the party, reports PTI. He also thanks party chief Sonia Gandhi for expelling the former Guna MP as he was “promoting anti-party activities and factionalism”.
2.52 pm: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says political convenience and personal ambition played a major part in Jyotiraditya Scindia’s decision to quit the party, reports PTI.
2.49 pm: Nineteen Madhya Pradesh MLAs supporting Jyotiraditya Scindia write to Karnataka director general of police demanding protection, reports ANI. “We’ve come to Karnataka voluntarily for some important work, regarding which we require protection for our safe movement, stay in around Bengaluru,” says the letter.
2.45 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot castigates Jyotiraditya Scindia for leaving Congress party. “Joining hands with BJP in a time of national crisis speaks volumes about a leaders self-indulgent political ambitions,” he tweets. “Especially when the BJP ruining the economy, democratic institutions, social fabric and as well the judiciary.”
The chief minister says Scindia has betrayed the trust of people as well as the ideology. “Such people proves they can’t thrive without power,” he adds. “Sooner they leave the better.”
2.42 pm: Congress leader Laxman Singh says the party should be ready to sit in the Opposition now, reports ANI. “In the future, Congress again will form the government,” he adds. I don’t think there will be much number game. We will meet the chief minister and discuss it.”
2.35 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia’s aunt Yashodhara Scindia congratulates him for leaving Congress, reports ANI. “This is ‘ghar wapsi’,” she adds. “Madhavrao Scindia had started his political career with Jan Sangh. Jyotiraditya was being neglected in Congress.”
2.27 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath writes to the governor for sacking of six state ministers, who are part of the rebel MLAs who resigned in support of Jyotiraditya Scindia, reports News18.
2.20 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia leaves from his residence. He resigned from Congress after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.
2.18 pm: Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria assures that the Kamal Nath-led government in Madhya Pradesh is strong will continue to run, reports ANI. He says the party has the required number of MLAs.
However, the 15-month-old Congress government will be reduced to a minority if the resignations of 19 MLAs are accepted by the Raj Bhavan.
2.16 pm: Congress MLA Bisahu Lal Sahu says he has resigned from the party as well as from the membership of Madhya Pradesh Assembly. “Most of the Congress MLAs will resign from the Congress in coming days as they are fed up with the functioning of Kamal Nath government,” he adds.
2.15 pm: BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan says Congress MLA Bisahulal Singh is joining the saffron party, reports ANI.
2.07 pm: Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Arun Yadav accuses Jyotiraditya Scindia of “betrayal” after he quit the party. “I am surprised by the character adopted by Jyotiraditya Scindia,” he tweets. “Scindia family had supported the British during the war of independence. Today, Jyotiraditya has given salutation to that heinous ideology again.”
2 pm: Former foreign minister Natwar Singh says he is not surprised that Jyotiraditya Scindia left Congress and is going to join BJP, reports ANI. “I feel he will be sent to Rajya Sabha and inducted into Union Cabinet,” he adds. “His father Madhavrao Scindia would have been prime minister if he had lived.”
1.44 pm: Political strategist Prashant Kishor says Jyotiraditya Scindia has little to show as a mass leader. “Amazing that those who usually find fault with Gandhis leading Congress because of their surname are finding a Scindia leaving Congress as big jolt for the party,” he tweets. “Fact is but for his surname even Scindia has little to show as mass leader, political organiser or administrator.”
1.35 pm: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh alleges that BJP is trying to destabilise the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh, reports PTI. Singh tells reporters that the saffron party had arranged three chartered planes for Bengaluru on Monday to fly out some MLAs who support Scindia.
“We want to know why Bengaluru is used every time to destabilise governments?” he asks.
1.28 pm: Haryana Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi says like Jyotiraditya Scindia many party leaders feel alienated and wasted. “Scindia’s departure is a big blow to @INCIndia,” he tweets. “He was a central pillar in the party and the leadership should’ve done more to convince him to stay. Like him, there are many other devoted INC leaders across the country who feel alienated, wasted and discontented.”
1.19 pm: 19 Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh, including six state ministers who are in Bengaluru, have tendered their resignation as the members of the Legislative Assembly, reports ANI.
In the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 114 MLAs and the BJP has 107. Out of the rest of the seats, the BSP has two and the Samajwadi Party has one. Four are Independent MLAs, while two seats are currently vacant.
1.06 pm: Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan criticises the “double standards” of Congress party, reports ANI. “For some Congress leaders when Scindiaji was in Congress he was a maharaja [king], now he is a mafia,” he says.
12.50 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia arrives at his residence after meeting both the prime minister and the home minister.
12.49 pm: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says Scindia’s resignation is a loss to their party, ANI reports. “I don’t think our government in Madhya Pradesh will survive,” he added. “This is the present-day politics of BJP, always tries to topple and destabilise Opposition governments.”
12.42 pm: Reports say Jyotiraditya Scindia is likely to join BJP later in the day.
12.40 pm: Scindia met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Tuesday, just a day after 17 Madhya Pradesh MLAs supporting him went incommunicado. The lawmakers are also likely to quit the party to reduce the Congress government to a minority, reports PTI.
12.35 pm: Congress expels Scindia for “anti-party activities”, minutes after Scindia made public his resignation letter. “Congress President has approved the expulsion of Sh. Jyotiraditya Scindia from the Indian National Congress with immediate effect for anti-party activities,” the Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal says in a statement.
12.12 pm: The resignation letter of Scindia, dated March 9, 2020, and addressed to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, states “this was a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year”.
12.10 pm: Former Union minister and four-time parliamentarian Jyotiraditya Scindia quits Congress.
Scindia is said to be upset as he was neither made the state Congress unit chief – a post still held by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath – nor assured of a Rajya Sabha berth.