Will Kamal Nath resign? Buzz gains traction hours before trust vote
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath heads a minority government after having failed in his attempts to woo back 23 rebel Congress MLAs, including six ministers having allegiance to BJP leader and former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Now that their resignations have been accepted by Speaker NP Prajapati, Kamal Nath has little choice to continue to be in power if there is no miracle or major poaching in the Opposition’s ranks, as per leaders from Congress and BJP both.
There is a strong possibility that Kamal Nath may announce his resignation to avoid a floor test in the Assembly, as per a few Congress leaders who remained active till wee hours on Friday watching the fast-paced political developments.
Kamal Nath has called the media persons at CM House at 12 noon on Friday, barely two hours before the state assembly is reconvened because of the Supreme Court order on Thursday.
The BJP is confident that the 15-month-old Congress government can’t survive the floor test as the arithmetic is not in its favour.
With the acceptance of resignation of 23 rebel Congress MLAs, 15 of whom come from Gwalior-Chambal region, Congress’ strength in the state assembly has been reduced from 114 to 92 and thus the government has lost its majority in the House. Till these resignations were not accepted, the government was enjoying majority technically.
The BJP has 107 MLAs. There are seven others – four independent, two from Bahujan Samaj Party and one from Samajwadi Party – who have been supporting the Congress government since its formation in December 2018. But even if none of these seven MLAs switches sides to the BJP, the Congress’ tally in the Assembly will only reach 99. To pull off a victory the party needs to poach at least 5 BJP MLAs and also to get them to vote in its favour so that it can reach the half-way mark of 104 during the voting in the reduced majority of 206 after the resignations.
Referring to the voting by two BJP MLAs – Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol – in favour of a Congress government bill during the monsoon session of the state assembly last year, minister for law and legislative affairs PC Sharma said, “There were two MLAs then. But this time there will be at least eight MLAs from BJP’s side who would vote for us.”
However, a Congress leader said, “It’s unlikely that we will be able to succeed in getting five MLAs from the Opposition side given the fact the power balance tilts in favour of BJP now and no BJP MLA barring a few exceptions will like to go for rebellion at this juncture and jeopardise his political career particularly when BJP has strong central leadership. Unfortunately, we seem to be heading towards a Karnataka-like situation.”
Prajapati and Kol have been blowing hot and cold since their voting in favour of the Congress government bill. But Kol was among the 106 MLAs of BJP who were paraded before Governor Lalji Tandon on Monday after the state assembly was adjourned till March 26 over coronavirus pandemic. However, Tripathi was only MLA from BJP side who was conspicuous by his absence on the occasion.
The ruling party tried to keep him in good humour with the state government taking a decision to make Maihar a new district on Wednesday. Tripathi represents Maihar assembly constituency in Satna district in the state assembly.
State BJP spokesperson Hitesh Bajpai said, “Aberrations are always there in politics but as far as BJP is concerned we are bound by a strong ideology. We know compulsion of Tripathi in trying to be seen in the good book of the chief minister as his name cropped up in a scandal. But he is wise enough to understand that his future is not secure with the Congress.”