BHOPAL: Amid the deepening political crisis in Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh, opposition BJP leaders met state Governor Lalji Tandon on Saturday evening and urged him to immediately issue directions to the Kamal Nath government to prove his majority on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha.
A BJP delegation led by Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava, former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the party’s chief whip Narottam Mishra met the Governor at the Raj Bhawan and submitted a memorandum mentioning that the Kamal Nath government was in minority after the resignation of 22 Congress MLAs as legislators on March 10.
“Following the resignation by the 22 MLAs from Vidhan Sabha, the Congress government is in a minority and had lost the right to stay in power. The budget session of the Vidhan Sabha starting on Monday should hence start with a trust vote by the government,” the BJP leaders mentioned in the memorandum.
The BJP leaders further mentioned, “It has also come to fore that CM Kamal Nath is putting pressure and trying to lure not only the 22 MLAs who resigned as legislators, but also other MLAs. In such a situation, the Governor is requested to exercise the powers vested to him under Article 175(2) of the Constitution and issue directions for convening a special session before Monday, where no other business except the trust vote by the Kamal Nath government should be taken up.”
The BJP delegation also requested the Governor that the trust vote shouldn’t take place through a voice vote, but instead happen through a division of votes/pressing of buttons. Entire proceedings of the trust vote should be videographed by a person authorized by the Governor.
The BJP delegation also requested the Governor to ensure proper security of the MLAs, particularly the 22 who resigned.
Refusing to budge before the BJP’s pressure, the MP minister for parliamentary affairs Dr Govind Singh said, “The government is ready for the trust vote, but not in the manner wished by the BJP. The budget session will start on Monday only with the Governor’s address. The floor test can be held on the vote of thanks on the Governor’s address or during the discussion on the budget.”
Reacting to Singh’s statements, the BJP’s chief whip in the Vidhan Sabha and former minister Narottam Mishra said, “The Governor’s address on the first day of the Budget session mirrors the government’s pronouncements, but how can that address happen when the present government has lost the right to continue in office after falling into a minority due to the resignation of 22 MLAs.”
None of the 13 rebel MLAs appears before Assembly Speaker
For the second day, the Vidhan Sabha Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati waited for the 13 rebel MLAs to appear before him in connection with their March 10 resignation from the House membership, but none of them turned up.
“All the six MLAs who failed to turn up on Friday and the seven who had to appear personally before me on Saturday didn’t come. Despite Saturday being a holiday, me and all officials kept on waiting for them at the Vidhan Sabha, but they failed to turn up. As I’ve got certain documents about two-three MLAs, I’m contemplating whether to keep them or oust them,” Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati told journalists.
According to Vidhan Sabha sources, the Speaker has given time till Sunday to the remaining nine rebel MLAs to appear before him in connection with their resignations.
All 22 Scindia loyalist Congress MLAs had resigned from the Vidhan Sabha on March 10.
Meanwhile, on Sunday morning, the Chief Minister Kamal Nath will chair the cabinet meeting, which will approve the Governor’s address for the inaugural day of the Vidhan Sabha’s Budget Session. The Congress Legislature Party meeting will take place on Sunday evening.
In the 228-member Vidhan Sabha, the Congress has 114 members and also enjoys the support of seven allied MLAs (which makes its total strength 121, six more than the simple majority), while the BJP has 107 members. In the event of 22 resignations, the total strength of the House falls to 206, in which the Congress and allies will have 99 members, while the BJP will have 107, which would be three more than the simple majority figure of 103.