Bhopal: The party-switching of legislators from the Congress continues after the party’s loss of power in Madhya Pradesh. Within a span of a week, two sitting legislators of the Congress not only quit the party in Madhya Pradesh but also joined the BJP hours after tendering resignation to the Assembly speaker.
With it, a total of 24 Congress MLAs have switched over to the BJP from the State Congress and 26 seats are now vacant in the 230-seat Assembly. By-polls on those seats are likely to take place by September.
Congress MLA from Nepanagar (Burhanpur), Sumitra Devi Kasdekar on Friday, July 17, reached the state capital, met with protem speaker Rameshwar Sharma and tendered her resignation. Hours later, she joined the BJP and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan welcomed her in the party fold at the Bhopal office.
The first-time MLA Sumitra did not say much while joining the BJP but CM Chouhan said that nobody’s future is secured in Congress adding that, “exodus of legislators from Congress has begun”.
Earlier, Congress lawmaker from Bahrha Malhera constituency (Chhattarpur district), Pradyuman Singh Lodhi quit his house membership and crossed over to the BJP on July 12. Hours later, Lodhi was rewarded with 'State Civil Supplies Corporation,' with a ministerial rank.
Bada Malhera MLA Lodi joining BJP on Sunday.
Earlier to this, 22 Congress MLAs and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalists had quit the party in March leading to the fall of the 15-month long Congress government in the state. They had then joined the BJP, following which 14 of them were accorded ministerial posts by the BJP government.
Commenting over it, ex-Congress MLA who has joined the BJP and now holds a cabinet ministerial post, Govind Singh Rajput claimed that three-four Congress MLAs are still in queue and wants to quit the party.
Hitting back at the BJP, Congress leader Mukesh Nayak said defection is being engineered in the party with money and power. “The fight is between Tikau (loyalist) and Bikau (party hoppers),” he said, adding that the party hoppers see short-term gains but only those who are dedicated will come out with flying colours.
Also read: The Scent of Power: A Timeline of BJP’s Power Grab in States
Congress further alleged that Nepanagar MLA Sumitra Devi Kasdekar was forced to resign after her representative Kiran Sondkar was arrested by the Ujjain Special Task Force on July 4 in connection with fake currency worth Rs 10 lakh.
“The ruling party leaders have been pressuring and threatening Kasdekar after her representative was caught in a fake currency scam. Hence, she resigned and joined the BJP to get rid of this case. The BJP should probe her involvement in the fake currency case,” claimed Narendra Saluja, media-incharge of the state Congress.
With the latest resignations, Congress is left with 90 MLAs, while the ruling BJP has 107 members. And the remaining 26 seats are vacant.
Also read: Why Anti-Defection Law Must Not Be Saved