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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Madhya Pradesh floor test: ‘All is well’, says Kamal Nath; Congress MLAs return to Bhopal from Jaipur

Several other ministers also exuded confidence that the Congress would clear the floor test in Madhya Pradesh on Monday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 15, 2020 9:49:23 pm
madhya pradesh floor test, kamal nath floor test, kamal nath, mp floor test, mp congress mlas, mp mlas resign, madhya pradesh news Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. (File Photo)

A day ahead of the crucial floor test in Madhya Pradesh Assembly, Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Sunday maintained that his government would prove their majority in the Assembly on Monday. “All is well,” he told reporters outside Vallabh Bhawan.

Several other ministers also exuded confidence that the party would survive the test.

Despite governor asking for floor test on Monday, it’s not listed in the assembly business.

State minister and independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal told news agency ANI: “We have the numbers. The CM is confident. Wait and watch. Kal pariksha (floor test) hogi koi zaroori nahi hai, abhi toh corona chal raha hai (It is not necessary that the floor test will be held tomorrow due to coronavirus).”

Meanwhile, Congress MLAs who had been camping in Jaipur also returned to the MP capital today.

“After landing at Bhopal airport, we are being taken to a hotel in buses. Instead of returning home, we will stay in Bhopal as the budget session of the assembly will start on Monday,” a Congress MLA told news agency PTI.

The party has issued a three-line whip asking its legislators to attend the session and to vote with the government.

Late on Saturday, Governor Lalji Tandon had directed the Congress government to prove its majority during the Budget session which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

The Governor said the test would take place immediately after his address in the House. The voting would take place via division and the proceedings would be recorded by an independent videographer, he said. The Governor also said no other business would take place in the Assembly.

The announcement came on a day the Opposition BJP requested Tandon to order a floor test. The government was already in a minority, and could try to avoid facing the House, the BJP said.

The budget session is due to begin on Monday. It would be unconstitutional and undemocratic to allow the government to conduct any business before proving its majority in the House, the BJP said.

Nath’s meeting on Sunday had triggered speculation that the government could recommend postponement of the assembly session. The CM had met the Governor on Friday to ask him to investigate the circumstances into which 22 Congress legislators were taken to Bengaluru, and their resignations letters were submitted to Speaker N P Prajapati by a former BJP minister in Bhopal.

The chief minister also wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking his intervention to release 22 Congress legislators kept at a resort in Bengaluru, and to allow them to attend the budget session of the Assembly.

The BJP delegation led by former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava called on the Governor around 5 pm and submitted a letter accusing the CM of trying to either lure or pressure the 22 rebels and other legislators. The letter asked the Governor to ensure the trust vote is taken by a ‘division’ and pressing the button; not by a ‘voice vote’. The proceedings should be recorded by an official videographer, it said.

The letter said 22 legislators had resigned and confirmed their decision to the national media. “The government should prove its majority first. Any Assembly proceedings other than the trust vote, or allowing the government to continue in office, would be undemocratic and unconstitutional. Any further delay in holding the trust vote would lead to more horse trading,” the letter said. Later in the evening, the Speaker accepted the resignations of the six Congress MLAs who had been ministers in Nath’s government. These six MLAs are among the 22 in Bengaluru, and had been summoned by the Speaker to confirm in person whether they had signed the letters voluntarily or under duress.

In the evening, the Speaker said the six legislators had already been removed by the Governor from the cabinet, and that they had failed to appear before him until 2.45 pm on Saturday.

With these six resignations, the number of Congress members in the house has been reduced to 108. The BJP has 107 members. Four Independents, one SP, and two BSP members are with the Congress. There are two vacancies in the 230-member House.

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