Congress govt in Madhya Pradesh stares at collapse after 22 MLAs resign

Chief Minister Kamal Nath has recommended the sacking of six ministers from his cabinet following their resignation.

The Madhya Pradesh government led by Kamal Nath stared at a collapse on Tuesday after 22 Congress MLAs resigned. Nineteen of them submitted their resignations together to Governor Lalji Tandon dealing a blow to the wafer-thin majority of the ruling combine in the assembly.

The developments came shortly after Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia announced he was resigning from the party

Seventeen of these MLAs including six ministers went incommunicado on Monday. They were said to have been flown to Bengaluru. Two other Congress MLAs were already staying in Bengaluru who joined them.

The 19 MLAs and ministers faxed their resignation to the governor, a Raj Bhavan official said.

A photograph of them holding their resignation letters soon went viral on social media. The others resigned separately in Bhopal.

The ministers who tendered their resignation letters include Tulsi Silavat, Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Mahendra Singh Sisodiya, Govind Singh Rajput, Imrati Devi and Prabhuram Chauhdary.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath wrote to the governor recommending the sacking of these ministers from his cabinet. However, governor who is in his hometown Lucknow and he is yet to take a decision on the chief minister’s letter, the Raj Bhavan official said.

The 19 MLAs who sent their resignation letters to the governor also emailed their resignations to state assembly Speaker NP Prajapati, said a Congress leader.

Each of the letters drafted in a similar manner states, “I hearby resign from my position in the state assembly with effect from March 10, 2020.”

The Congress leader who didn’t want to be named said, “Besides the ministers, the MLAs who have tendered their resignation letters include Brijendra Singh Yadav, Raghuraj Singh Kansana, Jaswant Jatav, Suresh Dhakad, Jajpal Singh Jajji, Munna Lal Goyal, Hardeep Singh Dung, Girraj Dandotiya, OPS Bhadoriya, Rajvardhan Singh, Raksha Santram Saroniya, Kamlesh Jatav and Ranveer Jatav.”

Speaker Prajapati could not be reached for his comments.

However, state assembly principal secretary AP Singh said, “Since the state assembly office is closed today due to Holi we will look into the resignation letters on Wednesday only.”

A BJP leader said former home minister Bhupendra Singh has flown in from Bengaluru with resignation letters of the MLAs and he is expected to submit the resignation letters to the Speaker in person in the evening subject to his availability.

One more Congress MLA Aindal Singh Kansana too is reported to have submitted his resignation letter to the Speaker. Kansana is one of the 10 MLAs who had left for Delhi a week back as a result of the BJP’s poaching attempts that Congress leaders had alleged.

MLA from Hatpipalya in Dewas district Manoj Choudhary has also reportedly resigned. Veteran Congress leader and MLA Bisahulal Singh also announced his resignation from the Congress in the presence of BJP national vice-president and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. He also announced joining the BJP.

Earlier, Bisahulal Singh after his return from Bengaluru on Sunday had expressed his faith in leadership of chief minister Kamal Nath.

State Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi, a close confidant of Scinida resigned from the party’s primary membership soon after the former Union minister announced his resignation, according to PTI.

Former principal secretary, state assembly, Bhagwandev Israni said, “The MLAs must have sent the resignation letters to the governor to suggest to him that the Congress government has been reduced to a minority now. However, as far as resignation of an MLA from the state assembly is concerned it’s not the governor but the Speaker of the state assembly who is authorised to accept or reject resignation letter of an MLA. The governor can decide on the resignation of a minister from the state cabinet, not the assembly.”

Israni said, “The speaker can’t take a decision on a resignation letter which has not been submitted to him personally. In absence of a formality required for submitting the resignation letters an MLA will continue to enjoy his status of MLA. Hence, technically, Congress government in Madhya Pradesh continues to enjoy majority till these resignation letters are not submitted formally and accepted by the Speaker,” he added.

The 17 MLAs going incommunicado on Monday came exactly a week after 10 MLAs including six Congress MLAs left for Delhi almost at the same time as a result of, what the Congress leaders alleged, poaching attempts by BJP. What followed was a high drama at a Gurugram resort. Four of the 10 MLAs were flown to Bengaluru while the rest returned after two days. Of the remaining four two returned later.

The BJP on its part continues to stick to its stand on developments in Madhya Pradesh.

“It’s an internal matter of the Congress,” Chouhan said.

Despite the massive setback, the Congress tried to put up a brave face.

“Till date there is no threat to the Congress government which continues to enjoy majority in the state assembly. BJP is desperate to topple the government but it will not succeed in its design as our chief minister Kamal Nath made it clear on Monday night again,” State Congress president’s media coordinator Narendra Saluja said.

In a House with effective strength of 228, the Congress has 114 MLAs, the BJP 107. Of the seven others — two are from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one from the Samajwadi Party (SP), and four are independent lawmakers. All seven support the Nath government, giving it a slender majority. Two seats are vacant in the 230-member House.

Source: Hindustan Times