The Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday said it will seek a floor test on March 16 after the resignations of 22 Congress MLAs left the Kamal Nath-led government on the verge of collapse, PTI reported. Long-time Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday joined the BJP, and several members of his faction also quit the Congress.
“Since the government is in minority, we are going to request the governor and the Assembly speaker for a floor test on March 16 when the state Budget Session begins,” BJP’s chief whip in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Narottam Mishra said, according to PTI. “They have the resignations of 22 MLAs. Now it is up to them to take a call.”
However, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said a floor test cannot take place because the resignations submitted by 19 party MLAs have not been accepted, ANI reported.
Accusing the BJP of holding its MLAs hostage, Singh said the party leaders must physically come before the Speaker and “speak for themselves”. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati has given time till Friday to the 22 MLAs who quit the Congress to appear before him, PTI reported.
Before the resignations, the Congress government had a wafer-thin majority – the party had 114 MLAs of its own in the 230-seat state Assembly, while two Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs, one of the Samajwadi Party, and four independents supported it. Two seats are vacant. If the 22 resignations are accepted, the Congress will be reduced to 92 MLAs and the government would collapse.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had voiced confidence that his government would withstand the political crisis. “There is nothing to worry about,” Nath had said. “We will prove our majority. Our government will complete its term.”
Singh, too, had claimed that the government in Madhya Pradesh would win the floor test. 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.
Singh said that 13 of the 22 rebel MLAs in Madhya Pradesh do not want to quit the party and were led away only to create pressure on the leadership to nominate Scindia to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress leader added that all efforts were made to stop Scindia from quitting the party, but the former Union minister did not budge.
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.