Madhya Pradesh governor Lalji Tandon on Monday gave the Kamal Nath state government an ultimatum demanding that it prove its majority in a floor test on Tuesday.
The letter further added that failure to conduct the floor test on Tuesday will be considered as the lack of majority for the Congress-led government. "Conduct the floor test on 17 March, otherwise it will be considered that you actually don't have the majority in the state Assembly," the letter was quoted by ANI as saying.
While the first day of the state budget session was adjourned till 26 March on Monday in view of the coronavirus outbreak, the BJP, led by former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan moved the Supreme Court demanding that the government prove its majority within 48 hours.
According to a report by NDTV, many Congress MLAs entered the House wearing masks, the protective gear against the COVID-19 infection.
However, Chouhan said, "Even corona won't save Kamal Nath's government. He has clearly lost his majority, so he avoided a trust vote today.”
The Assembly’s session was to witness the chief minister seeking a trust vote, a week after 22 MLAs loyal to now BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned. The session began after an exchange of letters between Tandon and Nath.
Nath said in his letter that it would be undemocratic to hold a floor test in the absence of the missing Congress MLAs, whom he alleged were being held captive. He also wrote that the Governor's directive to hold a floor test was out of the purview of his Constitutional rights and that
it "does not lie within the domain of the Governor to interfere with the functions of the Speaker".
Meanwhile, Tandon told the chief minister that prima facie he was convinced that the Congress government was in minority and to “protect democratic principles”, Nath must win the trust of the House “immediately”.
While Speaker NP Prajapati accepted the resignations of six rebel MLAs on Saturday, 16 other rebel MLAs requested him to accept their resignations, stating they cannot be present in person before him due to the "poor" law and order situation in the state.
The remaining MLAs of the Congress were brought to the Assembly in a bus after they returned from a resort in Jaipur where they were taken last week in an attempt to avoid more defections.
After the six resignations were accepted, the strength of the 230-member House came down to 222 after accounting for the two vacancies caused by the death of members. The BJP has 107 members and Congress 108.
The Kamal Nath government was formed with the support of one Samajwadi Party MLA, four Independents and two BSP lawmakers.
Updated Date: Mar 17, 2020 08:43:35 IST