Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has purportedly said that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s central leadership had decided the fall of the Congress government in the state, NDTV reported on Wednesday. An audio clip of the chief minister’s address to party workers during his visit to Indore on Monday when he made the remark has now gone viral. Scroll.in has not been able to verify the authenticity of the audio clip.
“It was the central leadership which had decided that the government will be dislodged, else it would ruin everything,” Chouhan is purportedly heard saying in Hindi. “Tell me, was it possible to dislodge the government without Jyotiraditya Scindia and Tulsi Silawat?”
Chouhan also purportedly added that Silawat had left his minister’s post for the formation of the BJP government. “In the coming bye-poll if Tulsi Silawat doesn’t become MLA again, will I be able to remain CM, will the BJP government survive?” he asked.
So far, the BJP has vehemently denied any role in the collapse of the Kamal Nath government in March. Neither the saffron party’s central leadership nor Chouhan have reacted to the audio clip yet. However, state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal tried to play down the matter. “It has been said by him [Chouhan] in the past that the Congress government fell under its own weight,” he said, according to The Statesman.
The Kamal Nath-led government in Madhya Pradesh collapsed in March after 22 MLAs, considered close to former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned. They later joined the BJP. Scindia had joined the saffron party on March 11 and was named the party’s Rajya Sabha candidate from Madhya Pradesh.
Silawat is one of Scindia’s loyalists and a former Congress minister who also joined the BJP along with him.
Chouhan took oath as the chief minister on March 23. The next day, he won a trust vote in the Assembly, from which all Congress MLAs absented themselves. MLAs from the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and Independent leaders voted in favour of the motion.
State Congress leader Narendra Saluja said Chouhan has himself spoken the truth. “Chouhan’s statement in Indore has also unraveled another truth that it was BJP’s central leadership which had decided to dislodge the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh,” he told NDTV.
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates of the bye-elections to the 22 vacant seats. Two more seats were vacated because of the death of MLAs. The elections are likely to be held in September.
Currently, the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly has only 206 members. Of these, 107 are from the BJP while the Congress has 92. Others in the House include four independents, one Samajwadi Party MLA and three Bahujan Samaj Party legislators. The present majority mark is 104.