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Citing Covid-19, M.P. Speaker adjourns House without floor test

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 16, 2020 Published on March 16, 2020

Madhya Pradesh leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava (left) along with BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan submits affidavits of 106 MLAs to Governor Lalji Tandon in Bhopal on Monday   -  PTI

Congress in defiant mood despite Governor insisting on show of strength; House adjourned for 10 days; BJP goes to SC

The Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, which is facing a political crisis after the resignation of 22 Congress MLAs, got a 10-day reprieve as Speaker NP Prajapati adjourned the Assembly for ten days citing coronavirus threat. The Opposition BJP has decided to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the Speaker’s decision.

No floor test

The Speaker defied Governor Lalji Tandon’s ultimatum that the government should prove its majority on Monday. The House was supposed to debate a trust motion on Monday.

Former Chief Minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan has sought Supreme Court’s intervention and the matter will be heard on Tuesday. In his plea, Chouhan urged the Apex court to direct the Chief Minister and the Assembly Principal Secretary to “hold the floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly within 12 hours of the passing of the order by this court and as directions...issued by Governor”.

“Even coronavirus cannot save this unstable government,” Chouhan quipped when asked for a response.

Kamal Nath, meanwhile, wrote yet another letter to the Governor saying that holding a floor test would have been “undemocratic and unconstitutional.” He maintained that the BJP is keeping some MLAs of his party in captivity.

Speaker Prajapati adjourned the House after Legislative Affairs Minister Govind Singh brought the attention of the House to the issue of corona outbreak. “You all know that in the wake of (Covid-19) pandemic outbreak, the ongoing Assembly sessions of Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharasthra have been adjourned,” the Speaker said.

BJP MLAs meet Governor

As the House adjourned, 106 MLAs of the BJP met at Governor’s residence and reiterated the demand that a floor test be held immediately. Nath, however, sounded confident. “If the BJP is demanding floor test and saying that we don’t have majority, they should bring a no-confidence motion against my government. Why are they shying away (from bringing a no-confidence motion). We will prove our majority,” Nath said.

Chouhan told reporters, “Kamal Nath government is in a minority. This government has lost its majority. The governor had directed the chief minister to prove his majority in the floor test on March 16. They should not have had any problem in facing the floor test, if they have majority.” He added that the Chief Minister does not have the constitutional right to continue in government following the resignation of 22 of his party’s MLAs.

“The number of Congress MLAs in the House has reduced to 92. We have 106 MLAs who have come to Raj Bhawan. The BJP has a clear majority now. The Congress government is evading the floor test,” he added.

The Speaker, meanwhile, accepted the resignation of six of the 22 Congress MLAs. The resignations of 16 rebel MLAs are yet to be accepted.

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Published on March 16, 2020
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