BHOPAL: Holi 2020 has seen a high-voltage political drama unfold in the national capital on Tuesday after Jyotiraditya Scindia tendered his resignation from the Congress after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Following Scindia, 22 Madhya Pradesh MLAs have quit the party and the BJP claims more MLAs are likely to follow suit.
Major Updates in the Madhya Pradesh political crisis
- Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia tenders resignation from Congress after meeting with PM and Home Minister. Reports indicate the Scindia scion will join BJP at 6 pm today and is likely to get a Rajya Sabha berth and a Central ministry.
- 19 MLAs of Scindia camp including six ministers send their resignations from Bengaluru
- CM Kamal Nath writes to state Governor Tandon seeking immediate removal of these six ministers.
- Digvijaya Singh loyalist MLA Bisahu Lal Singh also quits. In total, 20 MLAs have quit the Congress.
- Two of the seven allied party MLAs supporting Kamal Nath meet with ex-CM Shivraj Chouhan.
- Another Scindia loyalist Congress MLA of Hatpipliya, Manoj Chaudhary resigns. Total number of resignations now stands at 22.
- BJP delegation meets Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati with original resignation copies of 19 Congress MLAs.
- BJP leader Bhupendra Singh claims the number of resignations might rise to 30 on Wednesday.
- Assembly Speaker says he would decide on the resignations as per established law.
"Having been a primary member of the Congress party for the last 18 years. It's time for me to move on," Scindia wrote in his resignation letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
"I believe it's best I now look ahead at a fresh start. I believe I'm unable to serve people of my state, country anymore within the Congress," the letter further stated.
The former Guna MP also thanked Gandhi and his other former Congress colleagues for "providing him with a platform to have served the nation".
Sonia immediately expelled him from the Congress for anti-party activities, as the crisis looming over the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh deepened.
"Congress president Sonia Gandhi approves expulsion of Jyotiraditya Scindia with immediate effect for anti-party activities," said senior party leader KC Venugopal.
The buzz in political circles is that after joining the BJP, Scindia will go to Bhopal on Wednesday and file his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha election as a candidate of the saffron party. The last date for filing nomination papers is March 13.
I am proud of my father for taking a stand for himself. It takes courage to to resign from a legacy. History can speak for itself when I say my family has never been power hungry. As promised we will make an impactful change in India and Madhya Pradesh wherever our future lies.— M. Scindia (@AScindia) March 10, 2020
As per sources and reports, Scindia's supporters have started quitting the state unit in various districts of Gwalior-Chambal, Sagar, Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur.
Among the ones who quit the Congress is the state unit spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi.
"We have received resignations of 14 MLAs through two e-mails with attachments," a Raj Bhavan official told PTI.
In addition to the 19 MLAs of the Scindia camp, Digvijaya Singh loyalist MLA and ex-minister Bisahu Lal Singh has also resigned, taking the total number of Congres MLAs who've resigned from Vidhan Sabha to 20. Singh has joined the BJP.
Two of the seven allied MLAs supporting Kamal Nath government, BSP's Sanjiv Kushwah and SP's Rajesh Shukla, are at ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's residence in Bhopal.
Chouhan has claimed that another Digvijaya Singh loyalist and ex-Minister Aidal Singh Kansana too will join BJP.
Around 26 out of the total 114 Cong MLAs could be with Scindia now, sources said.
On Tuesday morning, Scindia met PM Modi at his residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah was also present in the meeting, sources said.
There was no official word on what transpired, but BJP sources asserted that the decision of the party's top two leaders to hold long deliberations with Scindia, scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royal family with considerable influence in the region, underlined the importance they attach to him.
Scindia's meeting with the Prime Minister is seen in political circles as the final act in the ongoing political saga in Madhya Pradesh.
The development also came hours before the BJP central election committee meeting in the evening to finalize candidates for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections.
Chouhan, meanwhile, is back in Bhopal, and the BJP now with Scindia's support will seek to oust the incumbent Chief Minister Kamal Nath from power.
The party is learnt to have finalised an induction package for Scindia in the BJP, which may include his Rajya Sabha nomination and even a place in the Union Cabinet.
If the Assembly Speaker accepts the MLAs' resignations, the Kamal Nath government will become a minority in the House.
While Sonia Gandhi called for an emergency meeting in the national capital, CM Kamal Nath is in a huddle with senior state leaders in Bhopal.
"BJP is worried as the scams of their 15-year-old rule are being unearthed. Also, Kamal Nath government's crackdown against organised mafia is worrying BJP," said senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, while attacking the saffron party.
"All their (BJP) deeds will be exposed. BJP leaders involved in honey trap racket case will also be exposed," he further said.
Singh further asked why were two BJP leaders, including MLA Arvind Bhadauria and organisation leader Ashutosh Tiwari, boarding the same chartered flight on which four Congress MLAs were taken to Bengaluru from Delhi on March 4.
"I've information about not one but three chartered planes having been arranged by BJP leaders for sending our MLAs to Bengaluru on Monday. Why all MLAs are being taken to Bengaluru only and being kept in the security provided by BJP government in Bengaluru," he said.
Senior BJP MLA Narottam Mishra said on Tuesday morning, "Scindiaji is a big leader, he will be welcomed, if he decides to come with us," said Mishra.
Mishra and ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan reached Bhopal from Delhi early on Tuesday.
They will attend the all-important BJP legislature party meeting in the evening, where the BJP will ensure to keep its flock of 107 MLAs intact.
While the Congress, which was voted to power in the state after 15 years in 2018, has 114 MLAs, the BJP has 107 legislators in the 230-member assembly.
(With Inputs from ENS and Agencies)