March 11, 2020
A day after 17 Congress MLAs from the Madhya Pradesh Assembly were traced to a resort in Bengaluru, as many as 22 MLAs of Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s party resigned from the Assembly on Tuesday. Leader of opposition in the Assembly Gopal Bhargava along with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narottam Mishra reached Speaker NP Prajapati’s residence in Bhopal with resignation letters from 19 MLAs.
During his interaction with media persons on Tuesday, Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati said that he will make a decision on whether or not to accept the resignations as per the guidelines of the Vidhan Sabha. Later in the day, Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon told a news channel that he would make whatever decision is required once he returns to Raj Bhavan in Bhopal. The Governor is currently on leave for Holi and will be in Lucknow till March 12.
Scindia resigns from Congress, party responds with expulsion
It would not be entirely unfair to state that Tuesday’s developments came as a jolt to the Congress party and its cadres not just in Madhya Pradesh but across the country. The day started with former MP CM and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh claiming that the party leadership in the state was unable to contact former four-time MP from Guna, Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Soon after, reports of Jyotiraditya Scindia meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his coveted 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence in Delhi cast a shadow on the day’s headlines. It was reported that Home Minister Amit Shah was also present during this meeting. Within minutes, Scindia posted a picture of a resignation letter addressed to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on his official Twitter handle. The Congress responded by expelling Scindia for his anti-party activities. Sources tell India Today that the son of former union minister Madhavrao Scindia, Jyotiraditya Scindia is likely to join the BJP on March 11.
A tale of three meetings
A Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meet was held at MP CM Kamal Nath’s residence in Bhopal on Tuesday. Among those who were in attendance were 88 Congress MLAs and four independents from the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. After she stepped out from the meeting, Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza told media outlets that the 22 MLAs believed to be part of the Scindia camp’ and currently in Bengaluru, were allegedly duped by the BJP and Scindia into resigning from the Assembly. Oza added that the Congress government in MP will continue to fight the BJP. Chief Minister Kamal Nath also claimed that he still holds a majority in the 230-member Assembly.
In Bhopal, another meeting was held around the same time on Tuesday as the one at the CM’s residence. This meeting was chaired by former MP CM and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Chouhan welcomed Bisahulal Singh, a minister in the Kamal Nath cabinet who resigned on Tuesday, into the BJP.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda, union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh among others were part of the BJP’s election committee meeting held at the party headquarters in Delhi on Tuesday. The purpose of this meeting was to zero in on Rajya Sabha candidates. The candidature of Rajya Sabha has also been identified as one of the major reasons behind the rift between Scindia and CM Kamal Nath.
Where are the MLAs?
Accompanied by Shivraj Singh Chauhan, BJP hired a special aircraft on Tuesday night to transport its MLAs from the MP Assembly to Delhi. They arrived in buses at the Bhopal airport sometime before midnight.
Reports suggest that as many as 19 Congress MLAs from the MP Assembly are still at the resort in Bengaluru and could be moved to Chhattisgarh or Rajasthan on Tuesday. The 88 Congress MLAs who were present during the meet at CM Kamal Nath’s residence in Bhopal will be moved to Jaipur on Wednesday morning.