Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and state BJP chief Shivraj Singh Chouhan filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding a floor test in the Assembly within 48 hours soon after the House was adjourned till 26 March owing to the coronavirus epidemic. The apex court will hear the plea on Tuesday.
The Madhya Pradesh Assembly’s Budget Session on Monday was to witness Chief Minister Kamal Nath 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 Governor Lalji 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 after the Governor’s address on Monday.
Ahead of the session, while BJP leaders said the Congress government will fall, Congress leaders hit out at the saffron party for “killing democracy”. "Chief Minister has said that some of our MLAs have been kidnapped. PM Narendra Modi has discovered a model to kill the democracy - abduct, lure, manage MLAs, keep them in police custody, record and make their videos viral and then demand for floor test," Madhya Pradesh leader Jitu Patwari told ANI.
State minister PC Sharma said that the absence of 16 MLAs has been reported to Home Minister Amit Shah. In response, BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said all the MLAs are in Bengaluru due to their allegiance to a leader and interest of their leader is high on their mind.
Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Gopal Bhargav asked for Kamal Nath’s resignation, adding that his government has been “morally defeated”. Chouhan also said that the Congress is running away from a floor test after losing majority. Both the BJP and Congress had issued whips to all its MLAs to remain present in the House during the Assembly session.
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. 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.
"If the BJP thinks it has the numbers it should bring a no-confidence motion. We will prove our majority," Nath said. BJP leaders too were shifted to a resort in Gurugram amid the imbroglio.
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.
Meanwhile, five Congress MLAs resigned in Gujarat ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls. Four of the five MLAs who resigned are Soma Patel from Surendranagar, JV Kakadiya from Dhari, Mangal Gavit from Dang and Pradhyumansinh Jadeja from Abdasa. Following this, Congress sent some of its MLAs to resorts in Jaipur.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 16, 2020 14:14:25 IST