BHOPAL: Veteran Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the party on Holi day and the rebellion he stoked in Madhya Pradesh might have appeared clinical, but the end game is nowhere in sight, as Assembly Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati is playing for time to give Chief Minister Kamal Nath the opportunity to battle defection and protect his government.
Scindia on Tuesday formally joined the BJP and was promptly rewarded with a Rajya Sabha ticket.
Monday’s resignation of 20 of his loyalist lawmakers, including six ministers, and two other MLAs, reduced the Congress strength in the House to 92 as compared to the BJP’s 107.
Nath has already herded his party’s MLAs to a Jaipur resort and is using his legendary skills at persuasion to wean away from the rebels.
Acting in tandem with Nath, the Speaker cited the rule book to assert that legislators intending to vacate their Assembly seats must submit their resignation letters to him in person. He did not specify a deadline to do so, as it suits the Congress to keep the matter open.
“After that I’ll call for the facts/evidences before taking a decision merits,” Prajapati told the media.
The sub-text: parading the rebels before the Speaker in Bhopal would take them out of their comfort zone in Bengaluru and give Congress managers a final shot at working on them.
Parallelly, the Congress wielded the stick against the rebel ministers, filing disqualification petitions against each of them with the Speaker. It was meant to be a warning for the rest of the dissidents to fall in line.
Also, Congress president Sonia Gandhi incentivised party veteran D K Shivakumar by appointing him as the Karnataka unit president. His hands on experience in dealing with dissidents will now be under scrutiny, as he tries to reach out to the rebels holed up in Bengaluru.
For the record, the Congress said Nath will prove his majority on the floor of the House. But if he does not have the numbers, Nath could recommend the dissolution of the House and seek mid-term polls.
The missing player in the drama, Governor Lalji Tandon, is expected back in the city by Wednesday.
Hits out at Congress
Scindia says the Congress is not acknowledging new thoughts, new ideology and new leadership. He also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership