Madhya Pradesh crisis: Kamal Nath govt totters as 17 Scindia loyalists reach Bengaluru; tussle over RS berth, party infighting likely reasons
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia have been at loggerheads for a long time.
The Kamal Nath-led government in Madhya Pradesh appears to be in deep trouble as 17 legislators, including a few ministers, arrived in Bengaluru on Monday.
The development came against the backdrop of the ruling party accusing the BJP of trying to poach its MLAs to topple the government.
Nath who was in Delhi earlier in the day has returned to Bhopal after cutting short his visit.
The Kamal Nath-led government in Madhya Pradesh appears to be inching towards a political crisis of sorts, as several reports claimed that 17 Congress MLAs, including a few ministers, arrived in Bengaluru on Monday. According to news agency PTI, the MLAs landed in Bengaluru earlier on Monday by chartered flights and are staying at an undisclosed location. NDTV quoted sources as saying that Scindia is presently in Delhi.
These developments come amid reports of infighting in Congress' Madhya Pradesh unit ahead of Rajya Sabha elections and party's allegations that BJP is poaching their MLAs.
News18 reported that the legislators currently in Bengaluru include health minister Tulsi Silavat, labour minister Mahendra Singh Sisodia, transport minister Govind Singh Rajput, women and child development minister Imarti Devi, food and civil supplies minister Pradyumna Singh Tomar and school education minister Prabhura Choudhary. They are believed to be close to former Guna MP and senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Late on Monday, Nath called a meeting of the state Cabinet at his residence. All the ministers present in the meeting submitted their resignations to the chief minister, a senior minister said. "We have expressed our solidarity with the chief minister and submitted resignations to him in the cabinet meeting," the senior minister told PTI.
"I will not allow (anyone) to destabilise my government with the help of mafia...I have dedicated all my life to serving the people, but the BJP has indulged in immoral ways to destabilise my government,” the chief minister said in a statement in the cabinet meeting.
ANI quoted Madhya Pradesh forest minister Umang Singhar, who was present at the meeting, as saying, "All the 20 ministers who were here, have tendered their resignations. The chief minister can reconstitute the state Cabinet now. All are together. Scindia ji is also with the Congress."
The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has accused the BJP of trying to poach its MLAs to topple the government, which enjoys a wafer thin majority in the House. Nath, who was in Delhi earlier on Monday, has returned to Bhopal after cutting short his visit, PTI reported.
However, when contacted by the news agency for the chief minister's statement, a Congress spokesman said there is nothing "serious".
"After holding a meeting for nearly two hours, the chief minister decided to summon the meeting of the state Cabinet around 10 pm. Nath is expected to make some major announcement at the meeting," PTI quoted sources as saying.
The chief minister and Scindia have been at loggerheads for a long time, as this Firstpost article points out. In February, Scindia recently threatened to hit the streets with his supporters and openly criticised the Kamal Nath government on the implementation of the farm loan waiver, as also its policy on transfers and postings. He also hit out at party veteran Digvijaya Singh, who enjoys enormous clout and is believed in some circles of the Congress to be the de facto chief minister.
In November, Scindia created a flutter when he changed his Twitter bio, deleting all references to the posts he held in the Congress. His bio currently reads, "Public servant, cricket enthusiast."
Due to the ongoing turf war in Madhya Pradesh, the party has not even elected a new state unit president — Nath holds the post in addition to his responsibilities as chief minister.
The Firstpost article also points out that the Rajya Sabha elections are due on 26 March and both Scindia and Singh have been angling for a berth. The two leaders are also said to be competing for the post of the president of the party Congress committee.
The Rajya Sabha terms of Singh, and BJP leaders Prabhat Jha and Satyanarayan Jatiya will end on 9 April.
As per the arithmetic in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the two parties are sure to win one Rajya Sabha seat each, but a tussle is likely for the third seat.
While the Congress has 114 MLAs, the opposition BJP has 107 legislators. Four Independent MLAs, two lawmakers of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one legislator of the Samajwadi Party are supporting the Congress-led state government. Two seats are vacant following the demise of a Congress and a BJP legislator.
The political drama in the state began last week when ten Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh went 'missing'. The party pointed fingers at the BJP, which denied any role in it. Since then, eight of the 'missing' legislators have returned and expressed their support to the ruling party in the state.
Amid the crisis, some Congress leaders have demanded that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra be nominated from the state for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.
"Priyanka Gandhi should be nominated by Congress for the Rajya Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh. Once she arrives, many things would settle down in Madhya Pradesh," state Public Works Department Minister Sajjan Singh Verma told PTI.
Former Union minister Arun Yadav also demanded that Priyanka Gandhi, who is the Congress general secretary, be nominated for the Upper House of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh.
With inputs from PTI
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