As many as 22 MLAs in Madhya Pradesh tendered their resignation after Jyotiraditya Scindia bid adieu to the Congress party on Tuesday, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government on the brink of collapse.
Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia today joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of party president JP Nadda and other senior party leaders, formally marking the end of his 18-year association with the Congress party. The development comes a day after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in the national capital shortly before he tweeted his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi dated March 9, 2020.
Scindia’s exit from the Congress has pushed the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh on the brink of collapse with 22 MLAs submitting their resignations, virtually pushing the Congress in a minority in the Assembly with a reduced margin of 202. The BJP with 109 MLAs may comfortably emerge on top in the event of a floor test.
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The Congress, on its part, has moved a petition before the MP Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati seeking disqualification of six ministers who are among the 22 MLAs who tendered their resignation. Congress has demanded that the six ministers who sent resignations be disqualified. Notably, the petition only seeks the disqualification of only the six ministers and not all 22 rebel MLAs. The Speaker has said that he will summon the 22 MLAs who resigned and meet them before taking any decision. It has also shunted its MLAs out of MP to a resort in Jaipur, Rajasthan under the watch of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Scindia’s fallout with the Congress is believed to have been in the making for over a year now. It all began when Scindia, a Congress loyalist since 2002, was denied the Chief Minister’s post after the party managed to return to power after a 15-year hiatus. Kamal Nath, who was picked over Scindia as CM, continues to hold the position of PCC president despite Scindia eying the post. Denial of a Rajya Sabha nomination is believed to have acted as the tipping point for Scindia to quit Congress.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which stands to benefit immediately from the crisis within the Congress, has denied any role in toppling the Kamal Nath government. Former three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the developments within the Congress were a result of its rumblings within and neither he nor any other BJP leader had any role to play in what is playing out now.
Scindia joined the Congress months after the tragic demise of his father Madhavrao Scindia in a plane crash in 2001. He went on to win the bypoll from Guna Lok Sabha seat in the following year by a margin of 4,50,000 votes. He was re-elected from Guna in the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections and went on to serve in the UPA government as Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Minister of State for Power till 2014. He won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Guna but lost the seat in the 2019 general elections.
The action now shifts to Bhopal where Scindia is scheduled to hold a roadshow on Thursday in a show of strength. All eyes will also be on the developments that follow at the Raj Bhawan and the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.