Bengaluru, March 17 (IANS) Swearing their allegiance to Jyotiraditya Scindia, who jumped ship from the Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last week, Madhya Pradesh's rebel Congress legislators on Tuesday said that they would stay put with their leader.
“As Scindia is our leader, we will always stay with him. He taught us a lot. I will always stay with him even if I have to jump into a well,” rebel Congress MLA Imarti Devi told reporters here in Hindi.
Scindia, the 49-year-old Gwalior scion, resigned from the Congress on March 10, coinciding with the 75th birthday of his late father Madhavrao Scindia, and joined the BJP in New Delhi on March 11, severing his 18-year association with the grand old party.
The rebels, including six former ministers, have been staying in a resort on the city's outskirts for over a week now.
Alleging that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath never heard them even for 15 minutes after they were elected 15 months ago, party lawmaker Govind Singh Rajput said that he had not been able to take up development works in his constituency so far.
“Kamal Nath never heard us even for 15 minutes. Whom should we talk to for development in our constituency,” Rajput asked.
Expressing unhappiness with the functioning of the Madhya Pradesh government, Rajput said that in every cabinet meeting, Kamal Nath would only talk about the development of Chindwara, his home constituency, as he was not bother about the other regions.
“Many legislators are unhappy with Kamal Nath and the way the government has been functioning. We do not even feel safe to go back to Bhopal. We will go if we are assured of safety by the central security forces,” Rajput asserted.
Echoing similar feelings, party legislator Rajvardan Singh said that they (rebels) are 23 in total of which 22 are in Bengaluru since a week.
“We have submitted our resignations to the Assembly Speaker (Narmada Prasad Prajapati) and requested him to accept them. Though he summoned us to meet him last Friday (March 13), we could not go on that day for some reason,” Singh said.
Reiterating their loyalty to Scindia, another rebel MLA, Tulsi Silawat, also sought the protection of central forces as they didn't trust the state police, which is under the control of Kamal Nath.
Asked if they would also follow Scindia and join the BJP, Silawat said they would discuss about their next move only after they return to Bhopal.
“We will think about it (to join BJP or not) later. We want the Speaker to first accept our resignations, as he has done in the case of six MLAs who were ministers,” Silawat said.
Meanwhile, accusing the BJP of holding up the party's MLAs in captivity in Bengaluru for over a week, Madhya Pradesh Law Minister P.C. Sharma said that they (rebels) were hypnotised and forced to make scripted replies.
“Some of our legislators are under pressure. Why are they holding press conference at a resort in Bengaluru? What is stopping them from returning to Bhopal and telling the same to the local reporters? They are under captivity in the BJP-ruled Karnataka, which is hosting them,” Sharma said in Bhopal.
Earlier in the day, Kamal Nath had said that trust vote would be undemocratic when over 20-22 ruling party legislators are held captive as hostages in Bengaluru by the BJP, which is desperate for power at any cost.
“Trust vote will be undemocratic as 22-24 of our MLAs are held captive by the BJP in Bengaluru since a week. They must be present in the Assembly if the floor test has to be held for test of strength,” Kamal Nath said in his letter to Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon.