Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said he had the numbers to prove the majority of the Congress government hours after the governor ordered a floor test by Tuesday, reported News18. “Those who claim that we don’t have a majority should move a no-confidence motion against my government to get the floor test done,” Nath told reporters outside Raj Bhavan after meeting the governor on Monday. “I told the governor that we are ready for everything as per constitutional provisions, rules and procedures.”
The state has catapulted into political chaos following former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the party. Governor Lalji Tandon had ordered the floor test after at least 22 MLAs sent their resignations to him. However, the Assembly was on Monday adjourned without a floor test till March 26 as a preventive step to contain coronavirus. In the evening though, the governor warned the chief minister that if the state government “fails to prove majority in the floor test on March 17, it would be deemed that your government is not in majority.”
On Tuesday morning, rebel MLAs in Bengaluru held a press conference where they refuted the Congress’ allegations that they were being held hostage by the Bharatiya Janata Party, reported The Indian Express. The legislators also did not make any remark on joining the saffron party, but expressed their support for Scindia.
“Kamal Nath Ji never heard us even for 15 minutes. Then whom should we talk to for development work in our constituency?” said MLA Govind Singh Rajput, according to ANI. Another MLA, Imarti Devi, who was a minister in the Nath-led state government added: “Jyotiraditya Scindia is our leader. He taught us a lot. I’ll always stay with him even if I had to jump in a well.”
After receiving news of the governor’s diktat, Congress leader PC Sharma said: “The letter from the Governor is surprising and it seems that he is under pressure.”
Until early last week, the state government, which was formed in late 2018, had the support of 121 MLAs in the 230-seat Assembly – 114 MLAs of the Congress, and the rest being from the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party and Independents. However, the resignations of as many as 22 Congress MLAs on Tuesday have made the government’s collapse imminent. The BJP has 107 MLAs, while two seats are vacant.
The tussle for power also moved to the Supreme Court with the BJPseeking its intervention. The plea, filed by former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and nine other MLAs, sought a floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly within 12 hours. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta will hear the petition.
“It is submitted that on account of lack of confidence and resignation of 22 MLAs of Congress party out of which the resignation of six MLAs having been already accepted by Speaker, the government led by Chief Minister Kamal Nath has been reduced to minority,” the plea said. “It has no moral legal, democratic or constitutional rights to remain in power even for a single day.”
The petition also claimed that Nath is trying to convert his minority government into majority by “possible threats, allurements” to the members. “The horse trading is at its peak,” it added.