BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon has asked Chief Minister Kamal Nath to hold a vote of confidence for his government through floor test in the Vidhan Sabha by Tuesday, failing which it would be understood that the CM doesn’t have the majority in the Assembly.
The development came just a few hours after the Speaker adjourned the House till March 26 on Monday over the worldwide coronavirus threat and spread, without holding the trust vote of the government as directed by the Governor on March 14.
The Governor replied to a six-page letter which the CM had written a few hours before the Vidhan Sabha’s budget session started on Monday morning.
In the letter written to the CM, the Governor wrote that “The tone and tenor of your (CM’s) letter which was in response to my March 14 letter isn’t in line with the constitutional practices and traditions. It’s unfortunate that you haven’t held the trust vote through a floor test in Vidhan Sabha within the time frame stipulated by me for Monday. The reasons given by you for not holding the floor test are pointless and baseless. The Supreme Court rulings quoted by you in the letter written to me earlier in the day, doesn’t apply in the present scenario. Whenever the majority of a government in the House is under question, then floor test is undisputedly the only test for the majority, which has been established by various SC rulings in the past too,” Tandon wrote in the letter to CM Kamal Nath.
“I request you (CM) to keep in mind the constitutional and democratic practices and thereby hold a floor test in the Vidhan Sabha by Tuesday to prove your government’s majority, failing which it would be understood that you no longer enjoy the majority in the House,” the Governor wrote in the letter.
While the Congress government was yet to react over the fresh letter to the CM, key sources within the government and Congress party confided to The New Indian Express that the government may move to the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the Governor.
Importantly, the Governor’s Monday evening letter is the third letter to the CM over the last three days. On the late-night on March 14, the Governor had written to the CM that it prima facie seems that the present government had lost the majority in the Vidhan Sabha, owing to which the CM should hold a trust vote immediately after the Governor’s address to the House on the first day of the budget session on March 16.
Later on Sunday evening, the Governor had written to the CM about holding the trust vote in the House on Monday by the way of members raising hands during the trust vote, as the electronic voting system wasn’t functioning properly in the Assembly.
On Monday morning, the CM had written a six-page letter to the Governor in response to latter’s March 14 letter (asking CM to hold trust vote on Monday) in which the CM stated that the Governor’s earlier letter was contrary to powers vested to the Governor by the Constitution in light of the ruling of Supreme Court Constitution bench in 2016.
The CM also wrote in the letter that it was unfortunate that the Governor didn’t mention anything about the Congress MLAs being in captivity of the BJP MLAs and are under the control of Karnataka Police despite him having mentioned about it clearly in a letter submitted to the Governor on March 13.
“Whatever has been expected by you from me (holding of trust vote via floor test on Monday) actually is the prerogative of the Assembly Speaker. I sincerely hope that the Governor will act in the future in accordance with the law and Constitution. Also, you writing in the letter about my government losing majority in the House seems to be based on information provided to you by the BJP leaders,” the CM wrote in the letter to Governor on Monday morning.
Earlier on Monday morning, the Vidhan Sabha’s budget session opened with the Governor Lalji Tandon just reading a short portion of the 36-page address to the House. He subsequently appealed all stakeholders to follow the well established constitutional practices to ensure that the rich and democratic practices of Madhya Pradesh are preserved.
Just before the Governor read his address, the BJP’s chief whip in the House, Narottam Mishra, questioned why the Governor was delivering the address when the Kamal Nath government had lost the majority in the House.
After the Governor’s address, the BJP members led by Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava demanded that the floor test be conducted in line with directions of the Governor. The Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati, however, said whatever communication has happened so far is between the Governor and the BJP members and not with me.
The Assembly was adjourned for five minutes amid the ruckus caused by the war of words between the ruling and opposition party members.
When the House re-convened, the minister for parliamentary affairs Dr Govind Singh (who like most Congress members was wearing a protective mask) moved a proposal to adjourn the House owing to rising coronavirus threat. But the former CM and senior BJP MLA Shivraj Singh Chouhan interrupted asking for holding the floor test first.
Agreeing with the parliamentary minister’s proposal, the Speaker said in the wake of the rising threat of COVID-19, various guidelines issued by the WHO and the central government and adjournment of ongoing Assembly sessions in Rajasthan, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Maharashtra over it, the House is adjourned till March 26 in the larger public interest.