BJP, Congress prepare to prove majority in MP Assembly

New Delhi | Updated on March 11, 2020

If 22 rebel Congress MLAs resign, the majority needed is 104. Cong will have 92, BJP 107

Amid allegations that the BJP is indulging in horse-trading to destabilise the elected government in Madhya Pradesh, both the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP are keeping their flock together anticipating a show of strength on the floor of the Assembly.

While the rebel Congress MPs are in Bengaluru, more than 80 MLAs have been brought to Jaipur. Congress leaders claimed that the BJP’s tactics are unlikely to work as some of the rebel MLAs are in touch with newly appointed president of party’s Karnataka unit and veteran leader DK Shivakumar.

Congress’s former president Rahul Gandhi urged the Centre to focus on the stalled economy. “Hey @PMOIndia, while you were busy destabilising an elected Congress Govt, you may have missed noticing the 35% crash in global oil prices. Could you please pass on the benefit to Indians by slashing #petrol prices to under 60₹ per litre? Will help boost the stalled economy,” he tweeted.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath maintained that the Congress government “is not lost”.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “We have our MLAs; we have to protect them from poaching of the BJP because it is in the profession. Now this is not only running the Government, for the formation of Government, the BJP is engaged with, they have also fine-tuned the art of poaching MLAs, abducting MLAs and stealing governments.”.

The Congress, apparently in distress, filled up the vacancies of state unit presidents in Karnataka and Delhi on Thursday. The party appointed veteran leader DK Shivakumar as the president of Karnataka unit and Anil Chaudhury for its Delhi unit. There have been complaints about the delay in those appointments within the party.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister of the State Digvijaya Singh said 13 of the 22 rebel MLAs have assured that they will not leave the Congress. “We are not keeping quiet. We are not sleeping,” Singh was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. “We did not anticipate that Scindia will quit the Congress... that was a mistake,” he acknowledged. A senior Congress leader close to 10 Janpath told BusinessLine that the party is probing various options.

“Scindia promised the MLAs that at least some of them will be made ministers in Kamal Nath government. They were not told that he is joining BJP. Most of these MLAs have no existence outside the Congress as they face strong BJP leaders in their constituencies. We are also in touch with some BJP MLAs who are at odds with Scindia,” the leader claimed.

If the Speaker accepts the resignations of the 22 rebel MLAs, the strength in the Assembly will be 206. The Congress will have just 92 seats. The BJP has 107 MLAs compared with 104 needed for majority in the House.

Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot met the MLAs staying at a resort in Jaipur. “Horse-trading is being done shamelessly and MLAs are being threatened there (Madhya Pradesh). The MLAs are coming to Jaipur from Madhya Pradesh and we all are together,” Gehlot said.

The CPI(M) said the BJP is targetting those governments who stood against CAA-NPR-NRC drive. “Given the declared opposition of many non-BJP State governments, the BJP is targeting the downfall of these governments by indulging in the worst form of horse-trading,” it said in a statement. “The PB draws particular attention of all non-BJP state governments to be vigilant of BJP’s huge money power and horse-trading along with blackmailing and blandishment. People’s mandates cannot be violated and reversed in such a brazen anti-democratic manner,” it added.

Published on March 11, 2020

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