Madhya Pradesh speaker writes to Governor Lalji Tandon to ensure safe return of 16 'missing' MLAs
On Tuesday evening, speaker NP Prajapati wrote to Tandon about having recently got resignations of the 16 MLAs as legislators not from them, their kin or well wishers, but from some other persons.
BHOPAL: Hours after the Congress in Madhya Pradesh petitioned the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking direction to the Centre and BJP-led Karnataka government to grant it the access to communicate with its rebel MLAs, state Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati wrote to governor Lalji Tandon to take concrete steps for safe return of the 16 MLAs.
The development came around ten hours after the Jyotiraditya Scindia-loyalist rebel legislators (including the six former ministers-legislators whose resignations as legislators have been accepted) held a press conference in Bengaluru, making it clear that they were not held captive by anyone in Bengaluru and had resigned on their own.
On Tuesday evening, Prajapati wrote to Tandon about having recently got resignations of the 16 MLAs as legislators not from them, their kin or well wishers, but from some other persons.
"In accordance with House Conduct and Business rules of the Vidhan Sabha, all the 16 MLAs were directed to appear before me in my office, but none of them turned up so far, owing to which their resignations are still under consideration before me. Also, none of these 16 MLAs attended the first day of the Vidhan Sabha budget session on Monday. Further, the kin of some of these MLAs have expressed concern about the security and safety of the respective legislators, due to which I being the State Assembly head, am also concerned about these MLAs," the Speaker wrote to the Governor.
"As the resignations of the MLAs were rendered to me not by them, their kin or well-wishers, but some other persons, hence the possibility of the resignations having been written by the missing MLAs under pressure is confirmed," he added.
"As you’re the constitutional head and guardian of the state, hence I request you to take concrete steps for safe return of the 16 missing legislators for addressing my and the MLAs’ kin concerns," the Speaker requested the Governor.
Earlier, on March 13, CM Kamal Nath while meeting the Governor had also raised the issue of the "missing" MLAs and their safety. He had accused the BJP leaders of having held those MLAs captive in Bengaluru with the help of local police.
He had also written a similar letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and requested both, the Governor and tShah, to initiate steps to track and rescue those legislators.
The 15-month-old Kamal Nath government had plunged into deep crisis on March 10, after former union minister and senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from Congress and later joined the BJP. Also, 22 Scindia loyalist MLAs, including six cabinet ministers sent resignations from Vidhan Sabha membership to the Governor and Assembly Speaker on March 10.
A few days later, BJP MLA and former state home minister Bhupendra Singh handed over to the Speaker, the original copies of the hand written resignations of the 22 rebel Congress MLAs and requested the Speaker to accept them. But the Speaker issued directions to the MLAs to appear before him personally in the matter.
On March 14, the Speaker accepted the resignations of six of the 22 rebel MLAs, who just a day before, had been sacked by the Governor as ministers on CM’s advice. Resignations of remaining 16 rebel MLAs are yet to be accepted.
On Tuesday, the rebel MLAs in Bengaluru questioned before the journalists, why the Speaker was not accepting their resignations just like he accepted resignations of their six colleagues. One of the rebel legislators alleged that delaying acceptance of resignations was a ploy to try and break the unity of their group.