BHOPAL: It was a midnight coup that failed big time. What started with 10 ruling Congress and allied MLAs from Madhya Pradesh being allegedly held hostage by BJP leaders at a resort in Gurugram in Haryana, ended on Wednesday evening with six coming back to the fold. Four of them, however, were reported to have been taken to BJP-ruled Karnataka.
The drama sparked a war of words, with Chief Minister Kamal Nath charging his predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan with masterminding defections to recreate a Karnataka in Madhya Pradesh.
Though six legislators — Sanjiv Singh Kushwah (BSP), Rambai Thakur (suspended BSP MLA), Rajesh Shukla (SP), Aidal Singh Kansana, Ranveer Jatav and Kamlesh Jatav (all Congress MLAs), returned with state finance minister Tarun Bhanot, uncertainty continued over the other four — Surendra Singh (Independent), Raghuraj Kansana, H S Dang and Bisahulal Singh (Congress).
Senior ministers P C Sharma and Surendra Baghel, who were among the six ministers deployed to end the drama, claimed that the four who slipped out were in touch with Nath and would return soon.
“There is no threat anymore to the government,” Baghel said.
The six who landed in Bhopal in the evening were driven straight to the CM’s residence, where they were closeted with Nath and Congress national general secretary in-charge for MP Deepak Babaria.
In Delhi, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, who had alleged last Monday that the BJP was financing defections, claimed the 10 MLAs were forcibly taken at the behest of Chouhan and a few others.
“The MLAs were to be paid anything between Rs 25 crore and Rs 35 crore in instalments, first to influence the Rajya Sabha polls and later to bring down the government,” he alleged.
Nath deputed his most influential ministers and son Jaivardhan Singh for the retrieval job. They claimed the Haryana Police and BJP leaders offered stiff resistance.
Congress has numbers to win two RS seats
With six MLAs back, the Congress strength in the 230-member Assembly now is 117 — one more than the simple majority of 116 and enough to win two of the three RS seats that are up for grabs in March 26 poll