Less than two days before the elections for three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh, five non-BJP, non-Congress lawmakers who had supported the Kamal Nath government attended a dinner party organised by the ruling BJP at its headquarters in Bhopal.
Two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators, Rambai and Sanjeev Singh Kushwah, lone Samajwadi Party (SP) member Rajesh Shukla and two Independents Vikram Singh Rana and Surendra Singh Shera were among the seven legislators who had extended support in December 2018 to the government formed by the Congress, which had won 114 seats in the 230-member house. One of the two remaining Independents has already indicated that he could go with the BJP.
The seven had propped up the government for 15 months before a rebellion by 22 Congress legislators brought down the Kamal Nath government. The BJP has 107 members in the House and the Congress was reduced to 92 after the resignations of 22 rebels. There are two vacancies caused by the deaths of a Congress and a BJP legislator each.
It will take 52 first preference votes to win one Rajya Sabha seat. With 107 members of its own and the support of most non-Congress members, the BJP is likely to easily win two seats. The Congress, which is expected to win the third seat, was a little nervous with five of its MLAs skipping the legislature party meeting called by PCC chief Kamal Nath on Wednesday. Former minister and senior Congress MLA P C Sharma said the absentee legislators had informed the party in advance and nothing more should be read in their absence. The party said the meeting had been called to train new legislators on Rajya Sabha voting.
The BJP has called its legislature party meeting on Thursday. Meanwhile, many supporters of former Congress MLA Hardeep Dang joined the BJP on Wednesday.
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