Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon on Friday expelled six rebel state ministers on the recommendation of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, India Today reported. As many as 22 Congress MLAs in the state had resigned from the Assembly on Tuesday, sending the party’s government into a crisis.
The six ministers, along with 13 other MLAs resigned after long-time Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whom they were loyal to, quit the party on Tuesday. Ahead of Scindia’s exit, the MLAs were allegedly flown to BJP-ruled Karnataka in a bid to keep them together.
The legislators had sent their resignations to the Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati but were asked to verify in person that they had submitted their resignations independently and under no duress. The portfolios of the expelled ministers were restructured and distributed among other party leaders.
Earlier in the day, Nath met the Governor in Bhopal and told him that the Bharatiya Janata Party had indulged in “horse-trading” of legislators and had held 19 of them captive.
Nath told the governor that the party was ready to take the floor test during the Budget Session beginning from March 16. After the meeting, Nath said: “Floor test will happen but it will be possible only when there is freedom. Where is the freedom when 22 MLAs are held captive? Some say that they are coming back. When are they coming back?”
In the letter, he also pointed out the late-night “rescue” operation of the Congress MLAs led by party leader Digvijaya Singh last week at a Gurugram hotel. Nath urged the governor to ensure the release of Congress MLAs allegedly still held captive in Bengaluru.
Before the resignations, the government had a wafer-thin majority – the party had 114 MLAs of its own in the 230-seat state Assembly, and seven others supported it. Two seats are vacant. If the 22 resignations are accepted, the Congress would be reduced to 92 MLAs and the government would collapse.