Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Friday resigned from his post ahead of the floor test in the state’s Assembly. Addressing a press conference around 12 pm, Nath accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of being unable to tolerate his administration’s achievements, and accused the party of betraying the “public mandate”.
Following Nath’s announcement, several BJP leaders, including Shivraj Singh Chouhan, were seen celebrating outside the party’s office in Bhopal. Chouhan asked the Congress to introspect on the reason behind its government’s collapse. Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly was adjourned sine die.
Following the Supreme Court’s 5 pm deadline to conduct the floor test, Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati on Thursday night accepted the resignations of the 16 rebel Congress MLAs who have been in Bengaluru since March 9.
Here are the day’s top updates:
3.42 pm: BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan says the Congress-led state government has toppled due to their “own internal conflict”. “You can see that we were not in the game to form or topple a government,” he tells ANI. “They [Congress] should do some self-introspection that what gave rise to such situation.”
3.39 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweets: “What we have witnessed today in Madhya Pradesh is a blatant killing of democracy in broad daylight. Dismantling the democratically elected government for the lust of power has become a habit for the BJP.”
3.38 pm: Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi tweets: “Today democracy defeated by hotel diplomacy”.
3.37 pm: Madhya Pradesh Assembly session has been adjourned sine die, reports The Indian Express
3.35 pm: BJP MLAs gesture at the state Assembly in Bhopal, reports ANI.
3.28 pm: Visuals outside the BJP office in Bhopal shows party Shivraj Singh Chouhan and several others celebrating.
2.12 pm: BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia says that his party will come back to serve people, reports News18. “We will come back and I believe people will give us an opportunity to serve them,” he says. “‘Janseva’ [to work for people] is my aim. I don’t go after any post or position. This is what I have been doing for [the] last 20 years. The chief minister will be decided by the party.”
2.07 pm: BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweets: “Satyamev Jayate [truth alone triumphs]”.
2.04 pm: BJP MLA Sharad Kol refutes Speaker’s claim that he has resigned, reports The Indian Express. Earlier in the day, Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati said he had approved Kol’s resignation.
2.01 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia reacts to Nath’s resignation. “The people of Madhya Pradesh have won today,” he tweets. “I have always believed that politics should be to serve the people. However, the Congress government had seemed to deviate from its path. Truth has won today.”
2 pm: Kamal Nath has submitted his resignation to Governor Lalji Tandon, reports ANI. “All that has happened in Madhya Pradesh in the last two weeks is a new chapter in the weakening of democratic principles,” his letter says.
12.54 pm: Independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal tells ANI that he would have continued his support to Kamal Nath but adds that his “priority is the people of my constituency”. “...their development and respect of the workers. I feel that now it’s not possible in absence of a leadership,” he adds.
12.43 pm: After announcing his resignation, Nath says: “They [BJP] cannot weaken my resolve. Irrespective of the post, we will continue to work for the people.”
12.37 pm: During the briefing, Nath has claimed there have been no scams or corruption allegations under his administration, reports The Indian Express. “The people will give us character certificate, we don’t want it from the BJP.”
12.31 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath says he will submit his resignation today.
12.28 pm: The chief minister accuses the BJP of betraying the “public mandate”, reports The Indian Express. “In the last 15 months, our government has done a lot for the farmers,” Nath says. “The treachery is not done with me but 7.5 crore people.”
12.25 pm: Kamal Nath says the BJP has continuously conspired against his government, reports The Indian Express. “Every 15 days, a BJP leader would make a remark, saying this government is here only for a few months and will not last long,” he adds. “They also held hostage our 22 MLAs in Karnataka. They’ve spent crores of rupees by luring our 22 legislators to the BJP camp.”
12.23 pm: Kamal Nath lists out several projects done under his administration. He follows it up with: “The BJP could not tolerate this”.
12.21 pm: Nath adds that people can see the truth behind the incident where MLAs are being held hostage in Bengaluru, reports ANI. “The truth will come out. People will not forgive them,” he says.
12.17 pm: “What was my fault all this while?” Nath says, according to The Indian Express. “In my entire political career, I have always believed in development. I tried my best to give Madhya Pradesh a new direction. The people here had given me five years to create a new state. I tried giving a new identity to Madhya Pradesh. This was what I wanted to achieve.”
12.15 pm: Nath accuses the BJP of not being able to handle the work done by his administration.
12.13 pm: Kamal Nath begins his address to the media, says: “People gave me an opportunity for five years.”
11.58 am: Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati says he has now approved the resignation of BJP MLA Sharad Kol, reports ANI. “He had earlier said that he was forcefully made to resign but after looking at his documents and that he did not meet me personally, it didn’t seem like that,” he adds.
11.55 am: The Congress Legislature Party meeting is under way at Kamal Nath’s residence, reports PTI.
11.35 am: Congress MLAs arrive at Kamal Nath’s residence in Bhopal.
10.48 am: Congress leader PC Sharma describes the rebellion of the party’s legislators as “elephant trading”. “This was not horse trading,” he says, according to News18. “This was elephant trading. The BJP is ready to destroy democracy to stay in power. The Supreme Court has given us less than 24 hours for floor test but we will prove our majority.”
10.46 am: The floor test will occur at 2 pm, the Assembly secretariat has announced, according to NDTV. In Thursday’s ruling, the Supreme had set a 5 pm deadline for it.
10.42 am: The Congress and the BJP have issued whips to their MLAs to be present in the Assembly, reports ANI.
10.35 am: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asks the media to wait for Kamal Nath’s press conference after questions on the chief minister’s resignation, reports ANI.
10.30 am: Congress Legislative Party meeting at Kamal Nath’s residence to begin at 11 am, reports ANI.
Here is what happened on Thursday:
- Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati on Thursday night accepted the resignations of the 16 rebel Congress MLAs who have been in Bengaluru since March 9.
- The Supreme Court ordered the Speaker to conduct a floor test by 5 pm on Friday. The top court asked the police chiefs of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka to provide security to the rebel MLAs if they decide to appear in the Assembly for the floor test.
The story so far
Madhya Pradesh has been going through a political crisis, with a collapse imminent for the Congress government, after 22 of its MLAs resigned last week following the resignation of senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. Scindia joined the BJP.
Governor Lalji Tandon had ordered the floor test after the MLAs, loyal to Scindia, 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 the coronavirus. On the same evening, 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”.
The BJP moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking a floor test for the Kamal Nath government. A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta overrode the decision by the Speaker to adjourn the session to March 26.