In a dramatic turn of events past Tuesday midnight, the Congress claimed it had “rescued” a group of Madhya Pradesh lawmakers from a five-star hotel in Manesar (Haryana) who were reportedly “held hostage” by the BJP to topple the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in M.P.
On Wednesday evening, a special plane carrying six MLAs from the Congress, BSP and SP arrived in Bhopal along with Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath said the BJP was making repeated attempts to destabilise the government. “With the money power of the mafia, it has been planning to come to power in an undemocratic way. Land mafia, organised crime mafia and spurious drugs mafia had all flourished under the 15-year rule of the BJP. Freeing Madhya Pradesh from them didn’t go down well with the BJP.”
Mr. Kamal Nath said the BJP had “murdered” democratic and constitutional principles in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana and Goa. It now wanted to do that in Madhya Pradesh.
“We have full confidence in our MLAs, and don’t doubt their allegiance and honesty. Black money earned through corruption and scams has come out in the open, and BJP’s conspiracies will come to naught,” he said.
Senior leader from the State Jyotiraditya Scindia told The Hindu that there was no threat to the Congress government in the State. “It is all under control and we are all together,” he said.
Former Chief Minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, denied the charge and said the Kamal Nath government was riddled with internal contradictions.
The episode comes a day after former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh accused the BJP of luring its legislators with bribes and said a former BJP Minister had ferried suspended BSP MLA Rambai Parihar, who supports the government, to New Delhi.
The Congress, which holds 114 Assembly seats, claims this is the fourth failed attempt by the BJP, which has 107 seats, to subvert its government that was elected in December 2018, and is supported by all the four independents, a suspended and a sitting BSP MLA and the lone SP MLA.
On establishing contact with two of the MLAs, including Ms. Parihar, Mr. Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh and MP Higher Education Minister Jitu Patwari reached the hotel in Haryana past midnight, where they were refused entry allegedly by policemen in civil dress. They managed to bring back four Congress, one BSP and an SP MLA. But by then, three Congress and an independent MLA had already been ferried to Bengaluru, said State Congress media in-charge Shobha Oza.
“They’ve not returned yet. The leadership is in touch with them, and the situation is under control,” she said.
The alleged attempt comes ahead of the Rajya Sabha vacancies in the State next month. Of the three vacancies, Congress and BJP are assured of one seat each with 58 first preference votes. The fight is for the third seat where the Congress has a clear edge if none cross votes.
Slamming the BJP, Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala tweeted: “To trample the Constitution is now the BJP’s character. Where they cant form a coalition, they start pulling down governments. They simply cant accept that they have been given a mandate to keep away from power. BJP’s attempt to kidnap the mandate in Madhya Pradesh will never be successful.”