Congress MLAs on the move.

Congress MLAs on the move.

Kamal Nath govt hinges on numbers; 6 MLAs quit after being sacked from Cabinet

BJP demands floor test before Guvs address; Congress claims MLAs could come back

Agency Report | Bhopal | 14 March, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati accepts resignations of six rebel MLAs who were ministers in the Kamal Nath government. These MLAs were sacked from the cabinet after they, along with 16 other legislators, resigned in support of Jyotiraditya Scindia who left the Congress and joined the BJP. The ministers sacked by the Governor a day ago, include Imarti Devi, Tulsi Silawat, Pradyuman Singh Tomar, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Govind Singh Rajput and Prabhuram Choudhary. With the Speaker's decision, the effective strength of the MP Assembly is now 222. Two seats are vacant. A BJP delegation, meanwhile, meets Governor Lalji Tandon and demanded a floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. BJP states Kamal Nath government has lost majority due to the resignation of 22 MLAs and CM has no constitutional right to run the government.

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati on Saturday terminated the membership of Tulsiram Silawat, Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Govind Singh Rajput, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Imarti Devi and Prabhuram Chaudhary from the House.

Earlier, the Governor had removed them from the ministry on the advice of the Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Friday.

The Speaker said that he had called the six MLAs to meet him personally for verification of the resignations. Since they have not reported to him so far their membership has been terminated.

The strength of the House is now reduced from 228 to 222. The Congress strength in the House will now be reduced to 108 and with the support of four independents and two BSP and one SP MLAs the Congress still has a majority in the House while the BJP with 107 will have to wait to get there.

Experts consider it to be a masterstroke as it would send a strong message to the MLAs who have grossly underestimating the gravity of the matter. The fence sitters who still don’t wish to all the way by joining the BJP may be losing their membership and indirectly be benefiting the BJP earn the majority at their expense.

Prajapati had sent notices to rebel MLAs to appear before him by March 15. Earlier, Prajapati called all 22 MLAs on three different dates. Now these MLAs can meet him till 5 p.m. on March 15.

However, some members feel the government could postpone the floor test if all MLAs do not appear before the Speaker. The government can also move the Supreme Court. According to the rule, all legislators are required to appear before the Speaker.

On Friday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Govind Singh requested the Speaker to get a detailed inquiry conducted into the resignations of the 19 MLAs. He said that the MLAs should asked under what circumstances they resigned. If they were not voluntary, they should be cancelled.

The 19 Congress MLAs held captive at a resort in Bengaluru had sent their resignations to the speaker through BJP MLA Bhupendra Singh. Three more had resigned later.

Six of the MLAs were expected to reach Bhopal on Friday after the assembly speaker issued a notice, but they kept the Speaker waiting all day. The second batch of seven MLAs was to reach on Saturday BJP President JP Nadda went to meet the MLAs in Bengaluru.

The MLAs are in touch with Nadda. On March 12, Kamal Nath government minister Jeetu Patwari also reached Bengaluru to meet the legislators, but they were not allowed to meet them.

A BJP delegation met Governor Lalji Tandon on Saturday and demanded a floor test in the Madhya Pradesh assembly.

In a memorandum to the Governor, the BJP said the Kamal Nath government has lost majority due to the resignation of 22 MLAs and the Chief Minister has no constitutional right to run the government.

“The ruling party’s strength should be tested immediately to prove the majority,” leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava tweeted, saying the delegation that called on the Governor included former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Narottam Mishra, Rampal Singh and Bhupendra Singh.

Chauhan has requested the Governor to order a floor test before March 16. He has said that there is no justification in starting the Budget session from March 16 unless the government proves its majority.

Chauhan accused the Kamal Nath government of luring legislators and pressuring them by calling their relatives. Property and other new cases are being filed against the rebel MLAs. He expressed fears of horse-trading in the state and requested the Governor to use his powers conferred under Article 175 (2) to check it.

BJP leader and former Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and former Advocate General Pushpendra Kaurava also reached Raj Bhavan and met Tandon.
After meeting the Governor, former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said: “There is a minority government in the state, so there should be a floor test ahead of Governor’s address and budget session.”

The BJP demanded that the voting should not be by a show of hands and the whole process should be filmed.

The BJP delegation included Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava and former Ministers Narottam Mishra and Bhupendra Singh.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N.P. Prajapati has indicated that action might be taken against two or three rebel MLAs out of the 22 who had resigned.

Prajapati on Saturday gave notice to seven rebel Congress MLAs to appear before him to discuss their resignations but they didn’t turn up. The six rebel Congress MLAs who were asked to appear before him on Friday also didn’t turn up.

Prajapati had asked the six MLAs to appear before him again on Saturday but none of the 13 MLAs turned up as the Speaker kept waiting for them for nearly three hours.

Speaking to mediapersons, Prajapati said: “I kept waiting for the seven MLAs, who were given time today, and for the six MLAs who didn’t come on Friday, at the Assembly Secretariat. Now, I will work as per the legal process.”

“Two or three serious issues of legislators have come before me. Based on the papers that have been received, I am considering whether to keep them or remove them,” he added.
The Kamal Nath government is entangled in the arithmetic of MLAs. The state government’s future lies in the hands of 22 MLAs who have resigned. The rebel MLAs can either save or topple the Congress government.

The Kamal Nath government has been in a crisis for over the past one week. The crisis has deepened due to the rebellious attitude of as many as 22 Congress MLAs. Nineteen MLAs are in Bengaluru, of which 13 MLAs were issued notice by the Assembly Speaker N.P. Prajapati to mark their presence. However, they did not turn up.

The budget session of the state Assembly is scheduled to begin on March 16, while the election for the members of the Rajya Sabha is scheduled for March 26. Nominations have been filed.

Bhagwandas Israni, former Principal Secretary of the Assembly, said that the Speaker of the Assembly is giving the MLAs a chance to appear before him. As far as the Rajya Sabha elections are concerned, if the Congress issues a whip and the MLAs still remain absent they may lose their membership.

Of the 230 seats in the Assembly, two are vacant. Of the 228 MLAs, 114 are from the Congress, 107 from the BJP, two from the BSP, one from the SP and four Independents. 22 Congress MLAs have resigned. In such a situation, the Congress has only 92 MLAs left, Even if the Congress takes the support of the SP, BSP and independent MLAs, their number will still be only 99.

Barring the rebel Congress MLAs, the total number of MLAs in the Assembly will be 206. The magic number will be 104. In such a situation, the BJP has 107 MLAs, three more than the majority and the Congress will be five less than the half-way mark.

According to political experts, 19 rebel Congress MLAs are in Bengaluru and three at other places. It’s not easy for these MLAs to return to the Congress. In such a situation, the victory of the second Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha will not be possible, as the BJP will still be having more number of MLAs than the Congress.

Jyotiraditya Scindia is the major reason for the deepening crisis in the Congress government. Scindia left the Congress after 18 years and joined the BJP and filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections.

On the other hand, the Congress is leaving no stone unturned to bring back its legislators. Chief Minister Kamal Nath handed over a letter to Governor Lalji Tandon, accusing the BJP of being involved in horse trading of Congress MLAs.

Six state ministers have been dismissed from their posts.

Amid the political drama, the Congress issued a whip to its MLAs to be present in the Assembly during the session starting from March 16.

Chief whip of the Congress Govind Singh on Saturday issued a three-line whip where he said that it is mandatory for all the MLAs to be present on all working days i.e. March 16 to April 13 of the fifth session of the Assembly.

The whip also said that all the members should vote in favour of the government.

As it struggles to retain power in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress claimed that its MLAs taken to Bengaluru are under pressure to quit the Assembly.

Most them are likely to withdraw their resignations once they are back in Bhopal.

However, senior party leader and state unit working President Ramnivas Rawat, who has been very close to the Scindia family since the days of Madhavrao Scindia, said, “I was a Congressman and will remain a Congressman. Our party MLAs are being held hostage in Bengaluru. When they reach Bhopal, they will not press their resignations.

“We have not left Scindia; it was Scindia who left us. The BJP gave him the title of ‘Vibhishan’ while welcoming him into the party. Now, this may be in the right or wrong context. But in our country, no parents name their children ‘Vibhishan’ due to the stigma of betrayal attached to it.”

When asked that how did he contact the MLAs as the Congress was alleging that even the family members were not able to contact them, Rawat said, “This should remain a secret.”

Rawat claimed that he has been loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia’s father Madhavrao Scindia and left the Congress to join the MP Vikas Congress, a party floated by senior Scindia, after resigning from the grand old party.

“I still have respect for the Scindia family, but I will always be in Congress,” he said.

The Congress working Pesident also claimed that Scindia left the party as he was of the view that the grand old party would not grow in the future. “I agree with Rahul Gandhi that Scindia abandoned his ideology as he felt insecure about his political future,” Rawat said.

He said that Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh had asked him to contest the Rajya Sabha elections, but he declined the ticket. “If I were to contest, people would have alleged that I ditched Jyotiraditya Scindia for Rajya Sabha nomination,” he said.

Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati has sent notices to rebel MLAs to appear before him by March 15. Earlier, Prajapati called all 22 MLAs on three different dates. Now these MLAs can meet him till 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Some members feel the government could postpone the floor test if all MLAs do not appear before the Speaker. The government can also move the Supreme Court. According to the rule, all legislators are required to appear before the Speaker.

On Friday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Govind Singh had requested the Speaker to get a detailed inquiry conducted into the resignations of the 19 MLAs. He said that the MLAs should be asked under what circumstances they resigned. If they were not voluntary, they should be cancelled.

The 19 Congress MLAs held captive at a resort in Bengaluru had sent their resignations to the speaker through BJP MLA Bhupendra Singh. Three more had resigned later.

Six of the MLAs were expected to reach Bhopal on Friday after the Assembly Speaker issued a notice, but they kept him waiting all day. BJP President J.P. Nadda went to meet the MLAs in Bengaluru and the MLAs are in touch with him.

On March 12, minister in the Kamal Nath government Jeetu Patwari also reached Bangalore to meet the legislators, but he were not allowed to meet them.
Speaker N.P. Prajapati on Saturday gave notice to the seven more rebel Congress MLAs to appear before him to discuss the resignations.

On Friday, notices were sent to six rebel Congress MLAs but they did not appear before the Speaker who kept waiting in his chamber of the Assembly all day but the MLAs did not turn up.

Twenty two Congress legislators, close to Jyotiraditya Scindia camp, have submitted their resignations to the Speaker through email out of which 19 are lodged in a Bengaluru resort, but the Speaker have insisted that the legislators will have to put their case in person.

Jeetu Patwari, a minister in Kamal Nath government, reached Bengaluru to meet the MLAs, but was not allowed to meet them.

Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government is thinking of postponing the floor test if all the MLAs do not appear before the Speaker.

The government may also knock the doors of the Supreme Court if the MLAs do not present themselves before the Speaker.
Former Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan welcomed Jyotiraditya Scindia on joining BJP and accidentally called the former Congress leader “Vibhishan”.

When Jyotiraditya reached the BJP office, Chouhan welcomed him and started narrating the saga of Ramayan. He called Scindia “Vibhishan” in Kalyug’s Ramayan and Kamal Nath “Ravan”.

Chouhan explained how Lord Ram conquered Lanka with the help of Vibhishan.

“To set Lanka ablaze, Vibhishan is needed and now Scindia ji is with us,” said Shivraj.

Shivraj’s statement is being seen as a comment on Scindia’s statement on Mandsaur case.

Meanwhile, many Congress leaders of the state said that Chouhan had insulted Scindia. Social media is also abuzz with comments on Chouhan’s statement.

The state unit of Congress also took a dig at Chouhan’s statement, tweeting, “Shivraj yet again launches attack on Scindia.”

“Scindia belongs to Ravan’s family! See, how shameful of Shivraj to call the new BJP leader Scindia ‘Vibhishan’. First, the Britishers’ friend and now the Ravan’s brother? Did Shivraj bring him to the party for honouring him or take revenge?”

Notably, Scindia had mentioned the Mandsaur firing case twice in his welcoming ceremony. The state Congress often attacks the BJP over the Mandsaur firing case. While joining the BJP, Scindia, after a roadshow on Thursday had mentioned about the Mandsaur firing incident in his speech.

He said, “Cases against farmers have not been withdrawn. The promise was made by the Congress, which has not been fulfilled.”

Mandsaur firing incident took place under Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s rule. When Jyotiraditya mentions Mandsaur, it pains BJP. It seems it will take time for Jyotiraditya to understand the BJP’s stand on the issue. (IANS)