BHOPAL: On Thursday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath had maintained that the ‘googly’ bowled by his predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan will turn ‘wide’ and will not be able to dismiss him.
Just a few hours later, on Friday afternoon, the septuagenarian politician, whose career spans around four decades, had retired hurt to the pavillion.
He seems to have surrendered by resigning from his post, thus paving the passage for BJP to return to power in just 15 months of loss of power in the central Indian state. Was Nath’s Thursday confidence real or was he just putting up brave face despite knowing that the possibility of his government surviving the coup actuated by the resignations of Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 loyalist MLAs was nearly impossible?
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According to sources within the state Congress, the Thursday’s Supreme Court directions of proving majority through floor test in the Vidhan Sabha on Friday and empty handed return of ex-CM Digvijaya Singh from Bengaluru, seems to have prompted Nath to finally call it quits.
According to party insiders, Nath hoped that Singh would be able to win back 8-10 rebels with ministerial offers, particularly those loyal to the ex-CM (including Aidal Singh Kansana and Bisahu Lal Singh), but his plans fell flat. “Nath was in talks with 8-10 BJP MLAs also, but the idea seemed to have not worked, as the saffron party MLAs finally made their minds not to help the CM’s plans of turning the table on the BJP.
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The BJP legislators, seemed to have backed out at the last moment particularly as they saw their own party easily forming next government in the days to come,” said a leader.Importantly, inputs about some Congress MLAs (who remained loyal to Congress) possibly being in touch with the rebels and the BJP, also could have been behind his decision of quitting without facing the floor test. There was also a possibility of the Congress appealing the top court’s Thursday direction, but the possibility of him not being able to run an unstable government for long is also being seen as a reason to resign.
What happened since Thursday evening
- On Thursday evening, an SC bench ordered a floor test by the Kamal Nath government to prove majority.
- On Thursday late night, Assembly Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati accepted resignations of 16 remaining rebel Congress MLAs, which meant Congress was in minority with 92 seats. Support of seven allied MLAs too could not take to simple majority figure of 104, while BJP with 107 MLAs was in majority.
- Friday at 2 am, Vidhan Sabha reconvened for floor test between 2 pm and 5 pm.
- At 11 am, BJP suffers jolt as Speaker accepts resignation of one of its MLAs Sharad Kol, despite the MLA having submitted in written to the Speaker on March 17 to not accept his March 6 resignation.
- Two hours before the floor test, CM Kamal Nath resigns.
- BJP now awaits nod from central leadership to decide on when to form the government and who will lead the new government.
- Pradeep Jaiswal, the mining minister in the outgoing Congress government and one of the four independents supporting the Congress announces support to whoever forms next government. BJP leader Arvind Bhadoria claims two BSP MLAs, lone SP MLA and three other independents will also back the BJP.