Madhya Pradesh crisis: Kamal Nath says ‘will prove majority’ in Assembly as BJP, Congress guard MLAs
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh declared the party ‘will take the floor test’ when asked if Nath was considering resigning.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday voiced confidence that his government will withstand the political crisis triggered after former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the party, NDTV reported. Scinida quit the party earlier on Tuesday after which at least 22 MLAs, including six state ministers, resigned from the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
“There is nothing to worry about,” Nath said. “We will prove our majority. Our government will complete its term.”
Earlier on Tuesday, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh declared the party “will take the floor test” when asked if Nath was considering resigning. He added that there was an “even chance” to win the trust vote as all four Independent MLAs, and a Bahujan Samaj Party legislator supported the Nath-led government. “We are talking to the BSP to issue a whip [for the other MLA],” he said.
Singh claimed that some of the rebel MLAs may come back as they did not want to lose their seat, and said the legislators’ families were in contact with the Congress. The Congress leader added that all efforts were made to stop Scindia from quitting the party, but the former Union minister did not budge.
“He told us he had high temperature so he couldn’t talk,” Singh said. “In fact one day before that, I sent him a message. He did not meet Kamal Nath either. He was offered PCC [Pradesh Congress Committee] presidentship, he denied. He was offered deputy chief ministership, he did not accept it.” Singh claimed that Scindia could have even got a Rajya Sabha berth.
Reports suggested that Scindia’s exit from the Congress was precipitated by neither being made the state Congress unit chief – a post still held by Nath – nor getting assurances of a Rajya Sabha berth.
On Tuesday, minutes after Scindia made his resignation letter public, the Congress said it had expelled him for “anti-party activities”. “Having been a primary member of the Congress party for the last 18 years, it is now time for me to move on,” Scindia said. The resignation letter, dated March 9, 2020, stated that “this was a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year”.
Before the resignations, the Congress had 114 legislators in the 230-seat state Assembly and six others – two Bahujan Samaj Party, one Samajwadi Party, and four independents – were supporting the government. Two seats are currently vacant. If the 22 resignations are accepted, the government could collapse.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party rushed to guard their legislators amid the power struggle in Madhya Pradesh. The saffron party began moving its MLAs out of Bhopal airport and flew them to Delhi. They are lodged at a hotel in Gurugram, Haryana at the moment.
The Congress may shift its MLAs to Chhattisgarh or Rajasthan. In a meeting on Tuesday night, Congress legislators urged the chief minister to keep them together, and give them the opportunity to bring the rebel MLAs back into the fold.