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Madhya Pradesh political crisis | Ready for floor test, ball in Speaker’s court: Kamal Nath

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. File

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. File   | Photo Credit: A. M. Faruqui

Government in minority, running away from seeking trust vote, claims Shivraj Singh Chouhan

With uncertainty looming over the floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on March 16, Chief Minister Kamal Nath said it was the Speaker’s call, while demanding the Congress 16 MLAs “held hostage” in Bengaluru be freed first. The BJP claimed as the Congress government was in minority, it was attempting to stall a trust vote despite the Governor’s direction.

Meanwhile, BJP MLAs landed in Bhopal from New Delhi late night on Sunday.

As soon as the Vidhan Sabha declared the business for Monday mentioning only the Governor’s address and the vote of thanks, Leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava and Chief Whip Narottam Mishra rushed to the Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Lalji Tandon.

Also read | Confidence motion not listed on first day of Madhya Pradesh Assembly schedule

He had on Sunday written to Mr. Nath directing him to secure the vote of confidence of the House on Monday, in any condition, without delaying, suspending or postponing the session, as his “prima facie belief” was the government was in minority.

Post-midnight drama gripped Bhopal, as the Governor requested Mr. Nath to meet him, as soon as his meeting with the BJP leaders concluded. After the meeting, Mr. Nath said, “We discussed holding the forthcoming session peacefully. The decision on the test will be taken by the Speaker. The Speaker will do his job, while I’ll do mine.”

Also read: BJP seeks voting by raising of hands in floor test

Mr. Nath alluded to his previous stated readiness for a test to the Governor earlier. “I am ready for a floor test, but first the MLAs held hostage must be freed. I am not at all worried about the government. The government is strong.”

In the past couple of days, he has written to the Governor as well as Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting them to ensure the release of 16 Congress MLAs, “held in captivity” at a resort in Bengaluru and reportedly pledging allegiance to Jyotiraditya Scindia who recently crossed over to the BJP. On Saturday, the Speaker had accepted resignations of another six MLAs there, who were removed as Ministers earlier.

After their resignations, there are 108 Congress and 107 BJP MLAs in the Assembly, where the majority mark is 112. Four independent, two BSP and an SP MLA had been supporting the government, at least openly before the political turmoil.

Also read | Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker says decision on holding floor test will be announced on March 16

Reacting to Mr. Nath’s remarks, BJP vice president and former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told reporters at his residence at 1.30 a.m. on Monday: “The Chief Minister is very innocently saying that holding the test is not his but the Speaker’s job. Mr. Nath, the business of the house is decided by the government, and the Speaker ensures it is conducted.”

Accusing the government of running away from the vote as it was in minority and scared, he said, “When the government moves the confidence motion, the Speaker will hold the vote. Straightaway, do the floor test. Don’t run away.”

Mr. Chouhan further said the BJP would press the government to hold the test on Monday. “You have no right to remain in government as you are in minority,” he said.

On Sunday, Speaker N.P. Prajapati had refused to commit to a date to hold the test, shifting the focus on Monday, when he said the situation would become clearer.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:20:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/madhya-pradesh-political-crisis-ready-for-floor-test-ball-in-speakers-court-kamal-nath/article31078316.ece

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