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Bid to topple MP govt? Congress says its MLAs confined in Gurugram hotel, BJP denies

The ruling party alleged that a few Congress legislators were holed up against their wishes at a hotel in Gurugram in the intervening night between Tuesday and Wednesday. State BJP president V D Sharma, however, distanced the party from any such development.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Updated: March 4, 2020 4:43:41 pm
madhya pradesh congress mlas hostage, bjp holds hostage congress mlas in itc manesar, kamal nath mp govt, congress govt madhya pradesh, shivraj singh chouhan Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. (File photo)

Amid claims and counterclaims, the Congress has alleged that there was a serious bid to destabilise the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh. The ruling party alleged that a few Congress legislators were forcibly kept in a hotel in Gurugram in the intervening night between Tuesday and Wednesday.

MP ministers Jeetu Patwari and Jaivardhan Singh had rushed to Delhi to woo the Congress legislators. In the wee hours of Wednesday, Congress claimed most of the eight legislators who were planning to switch loyalty to the Opposition BJP have returned to the Congress fold. Suspended BSP MLA Rambai was seen going with Congress leaders outside the hotel.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath alleged that the BJP was trying to destabilise the Congress government for the last many days. “BJP does not believe in democracy and is trying to usurp power through undemocratic means. It believes in conspiracy and money power,” he said.

He said the Congress government enjoys a majority and has proved it on the floor of the state Assembly during the elections for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker and by passing the budget.

“The BJP has tried to murder democratic and constitutional values in Karnataka, Haryana, Goa, and Maharashtra, and is trying to do an encore in MP but its designs will not succeed,” he said.

Accusing the BJP of being hand in glove with the mafia, the CM said the opposition party was finding it difficult to reconcile with the government’s crackdown on the land mafia, organised crime syndicate, and mafia dealing in spurious drugs that proliferated during the 15 years of BJP rule.

“The BJP is scared that the Congress government’s welfare initiatives like farm loan waiver and efforts to increase employment and investment will ensure that it will earn the trust of voters in the next elections as well,” he said.

State BJP president V D Sharma, however, distanced the party from any bid to destabilise the government.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Minister Umang Singhar insinuated that it was an insider job.

“It’s a fight to enter the Rajya Sabha. You are wise to interpret it,” he tweeted by insisting that the Kamal Nath government is safe. The forest minister is a vocal critic of Digvijaya Singh, a contender for one of the two Rajya Sabha seats that the Congress can win. Elections for three seats is due. While the Congress and BJP can win one seat each, the battle for the third seat could take an interesting turn. It will take 58 first preference votes. The Congress has 114 MLAs and the BJP 107 members.

The development comes two days after senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had alleged that the BJP was trying to lure Congress legislators by offering them anything between Rs 25 crore and Rs 35 crore in three installments. He backed his allegation by claiming that former BJP minister Bhupendra Singh had taken suspended Rambai to Delhi in a chartered flight. Kamal Nath had then said that Singh was “telling the truth” but expressed confidence in the stability of his government.

On Wednesday, Digvijaya Singh said that the Congress government was safe. He claimed the BJP had kept two chartered aircraft ready to fly MLAs to Bangalore. Only four MLAs, including one Independent, went to Bangalore but the second aircraft returned to Bhopal with senior leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan because no MLA was left, Singh claimed.

In the 230-member assembly, Congress has 114 MLAs while the BJP has 107 members. Seven non-BJP members, including four Independents and two BSP MLAs, support the Congress government. The Congress has challenged the BJP to hold a floor test.

On Tuesday, two BJP legislators Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol did not attend a party meeting. While the BJP had boycotted the proceedings, the two legislators had voted along with the Congress on a bill in the July session. BJP did not act against the two legislators claiming that no whip had been issued.

 

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