Explained: DA hike to free healthcare, Kamal Nath on welfare overdrive even as govt hangs by a thread

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Updated: March 19, 2020 4:42:16 PM

MP crisis: Kamal Nath, it appears, has started preparing the ground for polls or bypolls to the 16 seats which were represented by MLAs who have resigned from the Congress.

Madhya Pradesh news liveMP Chief Minister Kamal Nath. (IE)

Madhya Pradesh crisis: By now it is clear that Chief Minister Kamal Nath is likely to favour elections instead of handing over the throne to Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh. While his lawyers have been trying to buy time for the government — which is hanging by a thread — in Supreme Court, Kamal Nath in the last couple of days has taken a flurry of decisions that appear to be aimed at wooing the people at large.

In the last three big decisions that the chief minister has taken, two clearly can be categorised as welfare announcements while one is of sentiment (not disregarding the other arguments in favour of creating new districts). The first big decision taken yesterday was of 5% hike in dearness allowance for about 4.5 lakh government employees and pensioners. This is big given the size of the people it will benefit. Importantly, the hike will be effective from July 2019.

Today, the Congress government announced free treatment for injured in road accidents in private hospitals. “The Kamal Nath government to treat those injured in road accident under road accident insurance scheme free of cost in private hospitals,” the MP Congress said in a tweet.

Another big decision that Kamal Nath has taken is the creation of three new districts — Chachaura (currently part of Guna district), Maihar (part of Satna) and Nagda (part of Ujjain). Interestingly, Guna has been the family bastion of the Scindias who have represented this parliamentary seat six times. Jyotiraditya Scindia represented this seat in the Lok Sabha from 2014 to 2019.

Guna is also the epicentre of the tremor that has jolted Kamal Nath in Bhopal. All the rebel MLAs who have resigned from the Congress and possibly pushed the Kamal Nath government on the brink of collapse are believed to be close to Jyotiraditya Scindia. Scindia, a former Guna MP, resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP just over a week ago.

These decisions were taken despite the objections raised by Shivraj Singh Chouhan who said that a minority government has no moral authority to take big policy decisions. The Madhya Pradesh BJP also wrote to Governor Lalji Tandon and urged him to stop all such decisions including postings and transfers in the last three days.

In the last few days, Kamal Nath tried to make several attempts to bring back rebel MLAs. However, so far, he has not succeeded. In the meantime, Kamal Nath, it appears, has started preparing the ground for polls or bypolls to the 16 seats which were represented by MLAs who rebelled against him and resigned from the Congress.

The steps being taken by Kamal Nath appear to be aimed at bypolls to these seats — which have brought the Congress on its knees — in case the MLAs are disqualified and fresh polls are announced. Just days ago, Kamal Nath government demanded bypolls in constituencies where sitting MLAs have resigned.

The Supreme Court is yet to decide on the petition seeking floor test in Madhya Pradesh filed by former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Hearings have been underway for the past three days in the matter. Kamal Nath has maintained that he has the numbers and his government enjoys majority in the House, but has categorically refused to take a floor test.

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