Denying the charge that they were being held captive at a Bengaluru resort, rebel Congress legislators from Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday said they were unhappy with Chief Minister Kamal Nath for ignoring them and focusing on development of only Chhindwara, his pocket borough.
The 22 rebel leaders, including six former ministers whose resignations have been accepted by Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati, are camping in Bengaluru, where they held a press conference. The Supreme Court is set to hear petitions challenging the Speaker’s decision not to hold a floor test despite Governor Lalji Tandon’s directive to hold it on Monday. Tandon had again asked the CM to prove his majority by holding a floor test on Tuesday.
The ruling Congress and the CM have argued that any floor test without the presence of 22 legislators, who have been kept at “gun point” in Bengaluru, will be undemocratic and unconstitutional. The Congress claimed that the phones of rebel MLAs have been snatched away and nobody, including relatives, is being given access to them. The rebels said they were forced to address a press conference because false tales were being shared.
A former BJP minister had brought their resignation letters and submitted them to the Speaker. The rebels released videos over last few days saying that they were in Bengaluru voluntarily, and were scared to return to Bhopal where they could be attacked for challenging the Kamal Nath government.
The rebels said the CM had no time for them and that nepotism and corruption was rampant in the 15-month old government. Former Transport Minister Govind Singh Rajput said the 2018 Assembly election was fought by projecting Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The rebels alleged that thousands of crores were spent on development of Chhindwara, the parliamentary constituency represented by Nath for nearly four decades. Currently, he is an MLA from Chhindwara segment and his son Nakul Nath the Lok Sabha member. They said they would return to Bhopal only if provided CRPF security alleging that Scindia was attacked in Bhopal a few days ago.
Law Minister P C Sharma said the press conference should have been held in Bhopal, not Bengaluru.