Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on March 20, submitted his resignation to the governor Lalji Tandon after his government fell short of the majority mark. Before announcing his resignation, he blames at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for plotting conspiracy against him.
On March 19, the Supreme court had ordered Kamal Nath led government to face a floor test in the MP Vidhan Sabha. As per the apex court’s order, the trust vote has been mentioned in Madhya Pradesh Assembly’s list of business as on March 20, at 2 pm.
Ahead of the floor test, Kamal Nath had called for a press conference, before which the Congress legislative party held a meeting at his residence at 11 am.
After the meeting, Kamal Nath addressed the media and announced his resignation.
How it all happened?
The Madhya Pradesh government was pushed to brink following a shocking exit by the former Congress party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia from his post and the party altogether. Along with him 22 MLA’s loyal towards him also submitted their resignation and joined BJP.
Initially the state assembly speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati had accepted only the resignation of 6 MLA’s as on March 10. Rest of the 16 rebel Congress MLAs were staying in Bengaluru since March 9.
Kamal Nath led Congress government was given a 24-hour notice by the Supreme Court on March 17, after Shivraj Chauhan, the ex-CM of MP filed a petition, aimed towards seeking a floor test.
Keeping in mind the urgency of the situation, a deadline till 10.30 am on March 18 was given to the government under Kamal Nath, to answer to the notice, by a judicial bench led by DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta.
As reasons, the petitioners cited the following :
- The approach to the court was made as they accuse the respondents, speaker and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, of having violated the constitutional principles.
- They also accuse Congress of having willingly defied the instructions issued by the governor on March 14 that required the chief minister to prove his majority in the legislative assembly of Madhya Pradesh.
Following the resignations, sixteen congress MLAs applied to be a wilfully part of the petition given by BJP and cleared up contradictory statements made by the Chief Minister who claimed that they were under pressure, the group clarified that they were under no such pressure.
After being directed towards the floor test, Kamal Nath rushed to the governor’s residence, Raj Bhavan, where he claimed to have the adequate numbers for the test, he assured to the governor, Lalji Tandon.
This started a day before the budget session of the Madhya Pradesh assembly was scheduled, after the return of the Congress MLAs to Bhopal, back from camping in Jaipur while the political crisis unfolds against the Kamal Nath government.
A whip was issued by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader chief whip Narottam Mishra, to its MLAs asking them to be present during the March 16 assembly session and also vote in favour of the party during the process of the trust vote.
Though Congress party had got a breathing space from the floor test when the speaker declared to adjourn the house till March 26 in the view of the COVID-19 threat; however, BJP ex-CM filing the petition for floor test took a different turn altogether.
While speaking to the reporters, after the adjournment of the house Kamal Nath, challenged the BJP to pursue the idea and charge ahead with a no-confidence motion, instead of this claiming that they’re scared to do so.
On March 19, in response to BJP’s petition, the Supreme Court ordered a floor test to be held on March 20 by 5 pm.
Ordering the session to be reconvened on March 20, the court said, “There will be only one agenda – whether the government enjoys strength. The state of uncertainty in Madhya Pradesh should be effectively resolved by a floor test”.
The judge also added “The voting has to be done peacefully, by a show of hands. It has to be video graphed, and there has to be live telecast of the proceedings.
Madhya Pradesh Speaker NP Prajapati accepted the resignation of 16 MLAs during the late hours of March 19. Resignations of the remaining six were accepted earlier, was like the last nail to the coffin ending the 15-month tenure of Kamal Nath and Congress party in the state.
When the world is gripped in the panic of coronavirus, politics always seeps in through small cracks and becomes a matter of concern. What is left to see is how the situation turns out and in whose favour.
It is time that Indian politicians step aside from political game and give some attention to the situation prevailing. As the life-threatening virus tightens its hold on the country, political games should take a back seat; everyone needs to work together to fight as one against the pandemic.
It is understandable as to why BJP is trying to get hold of any opportunity to ensure the concentration of power in their hands. After losing in the legislative assembly election in Maharashtra and Jharkhand and being in a vulnerable political position such behaviour is not surprising.