Six Madhya Pradesh rebel ministers and 16 MLAs, who resigned from the Congress along with senior leader and former Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia on 10 March, have been harbouring various grievances for quite some time against the Kamal Nath government, which eventually led to their resignation.
Former forest minister Umang Singhar, considered close to Scindia, had accused Congress MP and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh of ‘blackmailing’ and called him a ‘mafia’ of the liquor industry and mining in September 2019. The issue had then snowballed into a major public showdown forcing Congress president Sonia Gandhi to intervene. That was the beginning of a revolt within the Kamal Nath government.
“These MLAs reiterated the same and meant what minister Umang Singhar had said last year. He had termed Digvijay Singh as the ‘de-facto CM’ who runs the government from behind the curtains and alleged Digvijaya’s involvement in transfers and postings in the government,” ex-Congress spokesperson and a Scindia loyalist, Pankaj Chaturvedi told Firstpost.
A similar opinion was shared by Madhya Pradesh BJP leader and spokesperson, Govind Maloo on the statement that Kamal Nath government is being run by ‘mafias’.
“The MLAs meant to say that it’s the sand, mining and liquor mafias who’re apparently calling shots in Kamal Nath government. Their money and muscle power are being used to curb the voice of the opposition. Only those who are close to this lobby are able to get their work done. The MLAs who quit were exasperated,” said Maloo.
Five grouses of rebel ministers and MLAs
- Kamal Nath doesn’t have time: A few rebel ministers and MLAs have alleged that the chief minister never had the time to meet his ministers and MLAs. “The chief minister never gave us time. The brokers and the corrupt are getting importance in the government. The chief minister didn’t allow us to speak in the cabinet meetings. He was only concerned about his constituency Chhindwara. If I’m unable to get work done in my constituency, how am I going to face those who voted me to power,” said Imarti Devi, a minister, who resigned along with Scindia.
- Ministers didn’t listen to MLAs: A large section of MLAs has been complaining for quite some time against the ministers for not paying heed to their demands and grievances. As a result, it became difficult for the MLAs to function in their constituencies and face public.
- Digvijaya Singh’s interference: Singhar and several MLAs have complained against the interference by Digvijaya Singh in administrative affairs. There were allegations that ‘ministers and MLAs had to visit Digvijaya’s residence and take orders from him’ and he decided on transfers and postings of officials without any consultation.
- No action by Rahul Gandhi: The rebel MLAs have alleged that they had approached former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and apprised him with problems, including a demand to make Scindia state Congress president, but to no effect. Six-term Congress MLA and senior leader, Bisahulal Singh said, “When I had met Rahulji, he showed my name in the list of ministers; but finally I wasn’t made. He had admitted that I was cheated by the state Congress.”
- Jyotiraditya Scindia ignored: The sidelining of Scindia and attempts to thwart his nomination to Rajya Sabha emerged as the final nail in the coffin. “Everyone is aware of the crucial role played by Scindiaji in the formation of Congress government in the state. But even he has been ignored and sidelined,” said Govind Singh Rajput, who was transport minister.
Fire fighting by Kamal Nath
In a desperate move to contain the growing frustration within the government and party, Nath has appointed some of the Congress leaders to state commissions and in the Pradesh Congress Committee.
For instance, Congress leader Shobha Oza has been appointed as chairperson of Madhya Pradesh State Women Commission while the party’s social media head Abhay Tiwari has been appointed as the chairperson of State Youth Commission and spokesperson JP Dhanopia as chairperson of State OBC Commission, to name a few.
Even after one-and-a-half years of government formation in Madhya Pradesh, the top posts in state bodies are lying vacant. Many senior leaders in the party are disappointed as they weren’t considered.
The BJP, in a quick move, has written to the governor to put a ban on these appointments, stating them to be unconstitutional.
“The chief minister has tried to appease the disgruntled leaders through these appointments. But these appointments are short-lived as the government would fall soon,” remarked Chaturvedi.
Updated Date: Mar 18, 2020 11:41:10 IST