Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned from his post on Friday after days of expressing confidence that his administration would withstand the political crisis in the state, reported PTI. He announced his resignation hours before his 15-month-old government was to face a floor test in the state Assembly, as ordered by the Supreme Court on Thursday.
In a press conference, Nath accused the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state of betraying the people’s mandate, and said the saffron party was unable to tolerate the development work done under his administration. “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 said. “They also held hostage our 22 MLAs in Karnataka. They’ve spent crores of rupees by luring our 22 legislators to the BJP camp.”
The chief minister claimed his administration cannot be accused of indulging in scams or being corrupt. “The people will give us a character certificate, we do not want it from the BJP,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
Nath said he had dedicated his political career to ensure development for people, and added that he had tried his best to “give Madhya Pradesh a new direction”. “The people here had given me five years to create a new state,” he added.
After announcing his resignation, the chief minister said his opposers cannot weaken his resolve, and that he would continue his work for people.
Reacting to Nath’s decision, Independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal, who had supported the government so far in the Assembly, said he would have continued to do so, but his first priority was to the people of his constituency. “...their [people’s] development and respect of the workers. I feel that now it’s not possible in absence of a leadership,” he told ANI.
Madhya Pradesh’s political crisis
The Nath-led Congress government has been on the brink of a collapse since 22 of its MLAs resigned last week after the resignation of senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who later 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 failed to prove its majority in the Assembly on March 17, “it would be deemed that your government is not in majority”.
The BJP then moved the Supreme Court seeking a floor test. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta overrode the Speaker’s decision to adjourn the session to March 26, and asked for the floor test to be conducted by 5 pm on Friday.
Late on Thursday, Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati accepted the resignations of 16 rebel Congress MLAs who have been in Bengaluru since March 9. With this, and the Speaker’s acceptance of the resignations of six former ministers – the effective strength of the House went down to 206.
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, Bahujan Samaj Party, and some Independents. The BJP has 107 MLAs, while two seats are vacant.