The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh led by Chief Minister Kamal Nath landed in crisis in the wee hours of Wednesday when a group of its legislators holed up in a luxury hotel in Gurgaon near Delhi. The Congress party has alleged this as an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was displaced from power after a 15-year rule in the state, to topple the Kamal Nath government.
Top Congress leaders including Jitu Patwari and Jaivardhan Singh arrived at the hotel to “rescue” the MLAs, who the Congress claimed had been held there by the BJP against their wish. As many as 11 MLAs were believed to have lodged at the hotel. The Congress claims that only four still remain inside the hotel.
“People with whom our contact was established were ready to come back to us. We were able to get in touch with Bisahulal Singh and Ramabai. Ramabai came back, even when BJP tried to stop her,” senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh told news agency ANI earlier today. The agency had tweeted a video that showed suspended BSP MLA Ramabai coming out of the ITC hotel in Gurgaon’s Manesar along with the two Congress ministers.
#WATCH Haryana: Madhya Pradesh Ministers&Congress leaders Jitu Patwari&Jaivardhan Singh leave from ITC Resort in Gurugram’s Manesar,taking suspended BSP MLA Ramabai with them.8 MLAs from MP are reportedly being held against their will by BJP at the hotel,Ramabai being one of them pic.twitter.com/VUivVHsaA4
— ANI (@ANI) March 3, 2020
State finance minister Tarun Bhanot told at least two media organisations that at least eight MLAs were forcefully held by the BJP in a luxury hotel in Gurugram with the help of Haryana police. He alleged that Congress ministers were not being allowed to meet the eight MLAs, which included 4 from the Congress, 2 from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and an Independent.
State minister Jaivardhan Singh, who was present at the hotel, claimed that the Congress leaders had been able to get six of their legislators out of the hotel and the party was in touch with the rest.
The developments came just hours after Chief Minister Kamal Nath claimed that his government was stable despite attempts by the BJP to destabilise it. “MLAs are telling me themselves that BJP is offering them money to shift loyalties. But nobody is going. Our government is absolutely stable and all our MLAs are with us,” he told reporters.
Digvijaya Singh, on the other hand, claimed that Congress MLAs were being offered Rs 25-30 crore to join the BJP. He had alleged the direct role of former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP leader Narottam Mishra.
The Congress, which formed the government in the state after a 15-year hiatus, has a thin majority in the 231-member Madhya Pradesh assembly. While the Congress has 114 MLAs, the BJP has 107, two seats are with the BSP, one with the Samajwadi Party while there are four independent MLAs in the assembly.