Kamal Nath says rebel MLAs in touch with him

Bhopal, March 19 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s reported claim that he is in touch with his legislators holed up in a resort in Bengaluru for the last 10 days, will finally be put to test in the state assembly that will witness a floor test on Friday.

Kamal Nath claimed in an interview that the MLAs “called me to say that they have been forced to record those videos…that is why I’m confident about my numbers.”

Referring to the 16 Congress MLAs who have tendered resignations to the state assembly speaker as “my MLAs”, Nath said no sitting Congress MLA had yet joined the BJP. “These are my MLAs until proven otherwise…If these MLAs were loyal to Scindia, then they would have joined BJP as soon as Scindia joined BJP,” he argued.

He said the rebel MLAs had so far only tendered resignations from the Assembly and not left the Congress. The ongoing developments were “just an event and not a crisis”, the chief minister claimed.

The Supreme Court had directed that the floor test be conducted by Friday evening and that the rebels were free to attend the House or stay away from the test.

Earlier the court had offered to create conditions to ensure verification of whether resignation by rebel Congress MLAs was truly voluntary and suggested appointing an observer in Bengaluru who can connect with the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker on video conferencing for him to make a decision.

The Congress is yet to react to the Supreme Court ruling on the issue. The party MP and Supreme Court lawyer was asked if his party could go for a review petition. He said the party was yet to take a call on the issue.

The state BJP chief and Lok Sabha member from Khajuraho, Vishnu Dutt Sharma, had claimed that the ongoing political crisis in the state was an internal issue of the Congress.

Kamal Nath has been consistently saying that “this has happened because of the action we took against the mafia that was being supported by BJP”. “How is this an internal problem for the Congress? If these MLAs are not being held captive…if they are free, then why can’t they come to MP? They are being threatened, that is why they are in a resort,” Nath said.

Senior Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh have repeatedly asserted that floor-test can only be asked for if a no-confidence motion is proposed. Since the ongoing assembly in the state was already in place for the past 15 months, since it was not a new assembly, Congress has argued, a floor-test cannot be demanded.

Nath said he had not sent Digvijaya Singh to Karnataka. “He is a Rajya Sabha MP…it is incumbent on him to go to MLAs to seek their vote…he will even approach BJP MPs for votes. But Digvijaya has been treated like a criminal”.

For all of Wednesday, Kamal Nath kept telling reporters that he wanted to visit Bengaluru and met his MLAs. Now the scene has changed.

This was also part of the arguments made by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker N.P. Prajapati.

“We have been in power for 15 months…if we were not in a majority, then BJP would have toppled us on day one…BJP can call for a no-confidence motion. Floor test is for a new government without majority…we have proven our majority in the last 15 months….so bring a no-confidence motion against us. If they are so confident that they have the numbers, then why can’t they call for a no-confidence motion,” Nath said.

The CM claimed he had met Scindia just over a week before he joined the BJP. He had “not indicated any displeasure or reason to join the BJP.”

Regarding Scindia’s attacks on the ruling state government just before he switched parties regarding the alleged non-fulfilment of the promise to waive farm loans, Nath said, “I know that farmers are happy with us. We have proof.”



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