Congress came to power in Madhya Pradesh, defeating what had started to look like an unassailable BJP wave, in 2018. Within 15 months of coming to power, the government was in shambles, courtesy factionalism, infighting and an increasingly assertive Opposition, the BJP, which was in a position to take advantage of the situation.
Kamal Nath resigned from the post of Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on Friday after unsuccessful attempts to persuade the 22 rebel MLAs to come back to the Congress folds.
His move comes a day after the Supreme Court directed that a floor test be conducted in Madhya Pradesh Assembly to prove that the Congress government led by him enjoys a majority in the House following the rebellion by 22 MLAs of his party.
Nath submitted his resignation to Governor Lalji Tandon at the Raj Bhawan in Bhopal this afternoon.
"He submitted his resignation to the governor," a Raj Bhawan official told PTI.
In his resignation letter, Nath said, "In my 40-year-long public life, I have always done politics of purity and valued democratic norms and given priority to it. But what transpired in the last two weeks is a new chapter of the devaluation of democratic values."
In the letter, he also congratulated the new chief minister of the state and said he will also extend help in the development of the state. Before submitting his resignation, Nath addressed a press conference, where he announced his resignation.
During the press conference, he also accused the BJP of killing the democratic values by conspiring against his government and blamed former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia for the current political crisis in the state.
"I have decided to submit my resignation to the governor. But I will continue to work for the welfare of the people... I did the politics of value," he said.
"I took over as the chief minister on 17 December, 2018. During my political career, I have always believed in development. I was given an opportunity for a period of five years to give a new identity to the state," he said.
"The BJP didn't like the people-centric works carried out by my government during our 15-month rule, so they kept conspiring against me," he said.
Nath alleged that 22 Congress MLAs were held captive in Bengaluru by the BJP, which has been witnessed by the entire country. "BJP killed the democratic values by conspiring," he said.
"I have proved my majority on the floor of the House several times during the past 15 months..., but the BJP betrayed the people of the state by destabilising the government," he said.
Nath mentioned the works carried out by his government during the last 15 months, including the farm loan waiver and development of cow shelters.
"BJP betrayed the farmers by conspiring against me," he said, claiming that 400 promises made in the election manifesto were completed in 15 months. He said the BJP was afraid of the success of his government.
Kamal Nath blames 'power hungry-Scindia'
Nath's short-lived tenure as chief minister was doomed since the start as the Congress veteran secured chief minister-ship in a running feud with Jyotiraditya Scindia, another party heavyweight.
In the tussle to maintain dominance over the state politics, Nath constantly appeared hamstrung by his feud with the Scindia faction and the need to safeguard a delicately poised government.
In the end, Scindia quit the Congress and joined the BJP. Twenty-two Congress MLAs, who were loyal to him also rebelled and resigned.
Blaming Scindia for the ongoing political crisis in Madhya Pradesh, Nath said, "BJP colluded with Maharaj (Scindia) for killing democracy and my government."
"Only time will tell what really happened. It will be investigated. But people responsible for this must remember that tomorrow comes after today and the day after comes after tomorrow. Remember, that the day after will come for sure," Nath said in his press conference in an apparent reference to Scindia.
He also sought to defend his actions, which the royal scion claimed was deliberate efforts to undermine and sideline him. Nath said, "I did not want the Congress to go to the palace. I wanted the palace to come to Congress."
On Thursday, the Supreme Court had ordered the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker to conduct a floor test by 5 pm.
After Speaker NP Prajapati accepted the resignation of 16 rebel Congress legislators on Thursday night, the Kamal Nath government was reduced to a minority with 92-MLAs in the 230-members house. The resignations of six others had been accepted earlier.
Similarly, the strength of the house also reduced to 222, trimming down the majority mark to 104. In this situation, the BJP has the majority mark with 107.
On Friday morning, the Speaker said that he has accepted the resignation of BJP MLA Sharad Kol (Beohari). But, Kol said that he had applied for withdrawing the resignation submitted earlier. This has further reduced the number of BJP MLAs to 106, but well above the majority mark in the current strength.
While the BSP has two members in the House, the SP has one. Besides them, there are four Independents. All these MLAs BSP, SP, and independents had extended their support to the Congress during the formation of the government.
In the renewed situation, these MLAs are yet to clarify their stand. But at least one Independent MLA has indicated he will go with the BJP under the new circumstances.
Updated Date: Mar 20, 2020 22:37:10 IST