Updated: March 17, 2020 5:51:29 pm
The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government, Speaker and others on a petition filed by the BJP seeking a floor test “within 12 hours” in the Legislative Assembly to test the strength of the Kamal Nath government. A two-judge bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said it would take up the matter next on Wednesday at 10.30 am.
The BJP moved the top court on Monday after Speaker N P Prajapati adjourned the session citing coronavirus fears. In its petition, the party said the Nath government had “no moral, legal, democratic or constitutional right to remain in power even for a single day”.
“All possible attempts are being made by the Chief Minister to convert his minority government into majority by giving all possible threats, allurements to the members of the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha,” the opposition party said.
“Horse-trading is at its peak. Therefore, it is essential that floor test is conducted on 16.3.2020 itself, as already directed by the Governor so that it becomes absolutely clear as to whether the Chief Minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the majority of Vidhan Sabha… any deferment of the floor test will further encourage horse-trading and would be in utter violation of the directions issued by the Governor…” it added.
Governor instructs Kamal Nath to hold floor test
Governor Lalji Tandon, in a letter to Nath on March 14, asked the Chief Minister to hold a floor test on the first day of the budget session as, in his opinion, prima facie, the Congress government was in minority.
When the session was adjourned till March 26 on Monday, the Governor wrote to Nath, saying, “It’s regrettable that you did not seek trust vote with the deadline and expressed disability/avoided… The reasons given by you not to hold the trust vote are baseless and meaningless.”
Following this, Nath called on Tandon on Monday night to tell him that the BJP had moved a no-confidence motion in the House — a charge denied by the BJP.
Tandon said the Supreme Court ruling was not applicable in the current situation, and instructed that a floor test be held in the House Tuesday.
Kamal Nath takes it up with Speaker for floor test
In another letter to the Governor Tuesday, CM Nath said he had approached the Speaker to take appropriate action.
“Keeping into account all facts, I have forwarded your direction to me to the Assembly Speaker for an appropriate action,” he wrote.
With the effective strength of the Assembly at 222, the majority mark is 112. Congress has 108 seats in the House, while BJP has 107.
Congress MLAs hold press conference in Bengaluru
The 22 Congress MLAs who had submitted their resignations to the Speaker — only six have been accepted — held a press conference in Bengaluru this morning to dispel “false tales” being shared.
They denied that they were being held captive by the BJP, and said they had resigned as they were unhappy with Nath. They accused him of focusing on development of Chhindwara, his constituency. They alleged Nath was spending thousands of crores of rupees on his constituency.
The MLAs also said they would return to Bhopal only if they were provided security by the CRPF.
Congress also seeks Supreme Court’s intervention
Madhya Pradesh Congress also moved the apex court seeking directions to Centre and Karnataka government to grant it access for communicating with its MLAs. The party also urged the court to declare as illegal the “confinement” of its MLAs in Bengaluru. Trust vote should be held only in presence of all duly-elected MLAs of MP Assembly, the Congress party.
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