The Congress has asked Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati to disqualify six state ministers of the Kamal Nath Cabinet as MLAs, who along with 16 others, had resigned on Tuesday, NDTV reported on Thursday. The Kamal Nath-led Congress government is facing upheaval after former party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned, following which 22 MLAs also quit.
Congress leader JP Dhanopia filed six separate petitions against the ministers under Article 191(2) of the Constitution, which states that a person shall be disqualified as Member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council if she/he is disqualified under the Tenth Schedule. The petitions were filed against Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Imarti Devi, Tulsi Silawat, Prabhuram Chaudhary, Govind Singh Rajput and Praduman Singh Tomar.
“As per the Tenth Schedule, a member gets disqualified if that member has voluntarily given up the membership or not followed the whip of the party,” Dhanopia said. “These six ministers are members of the Congress party, who won the assembly polls in 2018 on Congress’s poll symbol. But they are now colluding with the BJP, so separate petitions have been filed seeking their disqualification from the House.”
Scindia’s exit from the party and the subsequent resignations of 22 MLAs has left the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on the verge of collapse. The Madhya Pradesh government now has a wafer-thin majority of just four above the majority mark of 116. If the resignations are accepted, the Congress will lose power.
After Scindia joined the BJP on Wednesday, video clips of the MLAs expressing their support for him and saying that they resigned from the Congress willingly, emerged on social media, NDTV reported. In one such video, former minister Devi said she will even jump into a well if “Maharaj” [Scindia] asks her to.
Sisodia, another former minister, said he will go wherever Scindia does. “Jyotiraditya Scindia has not betrayed anybody, rather the Congress and Kamal Nathji have betrayed him,” he said. He added that the Congress came into power in Madhya Pradesh because of Scindia’s work.
Chaudhary, also a former minister, said in the video that the MLAs have resigned willingly. “All 22 MLAs are one today and will remain united tomorrow.”
Speaker NP Prajapati said he will go by the rules and meet the Congress MLAs before deciding on their resignations. The MLAs sent in their resignations on e-mail. Prajapati, however, said the MLAs will have to submit their resignation letters in person. “As per law, those resigning will have to first appear before the Speaker personally, after which only I’ll look into available evidences/facts before deciding as per merits of the case,” he told reporters.
It is expected that the rebel MLAs might be asked to appear in batches before him over the next few days.
Kamal Nath had also written to the governor on Tuesday, asking for the removal of six ministers, who are among the rebels. The governor is yet to take action on the matter.
The Congress had maintained that it will prove its strength on the floor of the House.
Former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party after resigning from the primary membership of the Congress and lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had said that the Congress is in “denial” about reality.