Hours after Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Gopal Bhargava said the Kamal Nath government would not last for 24 hours if there was an order from the BJP top leadership, two saffron party MLAs supported the Congress during voting on a bill.
MLAs Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol, both former Congressmen, said they supported the seven-month-old Kamal Nath-led government as they wanted to develop their respective assembly constituency, PTI reported. During the division of votes on the Criminal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill 2019, a total of 122 MLAs voted in favour of the Congress government.
Later, talking to reporters, the BJP MLAs said this was their “ghar wapsi”. Reacting to the voting, Kamal Nath said, “During voting in the Assembly on criminal law amendment bill, two BJP MLAs voted in favour of our government.”
Earlier in the day, LoP Bhargava said the Congress government could be toppled within 24 hours if there were orders from the BJP top leadership. “Hamare upar wale no 1 ya no 2 ka aadesh hua to 24 ghante bhi aapki sarkar nahi chalegi (If there is an order from our number 1 and number 2, your government will not last for 24 hours),” the Leader of Opposition said.
To this, Nath said he was ready to face a confidence motion to prove his majority in the House. “Your no 1 and no 2 are smart,” he told Bhargava, suggesting that they were not making any attempt to destabilise the government since they know it was not possible.
The veteran Congress leader said he was ready to prove majority any time to dispel the atmosphere of uncertainty the BJP was trying to create.
However, taking a different line from Bhargava, former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said no attempt would be made to disturb the government but hinted that it might not last long.
The Congress has 114 legislators in the 230-member house and enjoys the support of two BSP, one SP and four Independent MLAs. The BJP has 109 MLAs, including Jhabua MLA Gumansingh Damor, who contested the Ratlam Lok Sabha seat and won.
A month ago, Bhargava had called for a special session to discuss important issues. In the Lok Sabha elections, BJP virtually decimated the Congress in Madhya Pradesh by winning 28 out of 29 Lok Sabha seats.
The development comes a day after the BJP, which had waited four days for Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to put the confidence motion to vote, registered 105 votes to the coalition’s 99. It brought to end a week-long saga following the resignation of 15 MLAs.
While all BJP MLAs were present for the trust vote, the coalition had 17 MLAs missing, apart from a BSP MLA and two Independents who were earlier allied with the government. The half-way mark in the 224-member Assembly is 113 but with its strength reduced by the absence of 20 coalition MLAs, the BJP won a simple majority.
(With inputs from Milind Ghatwai)