Bhopal: All 23 rebel Congress MLAs housed at a resort in Bengaluru will fly to Bhopal on Friday to meet Madhya Pradesh speaker NP Prajapati, who had issued notices asking them to appear before him and clarify whether they have quit their Assembly membership voluntarily or under pressure.
After the meeting, they will immediately fly back to Bengaluru in the same chartered flight, sources said. The news of the rebel MLAs meeting the Speaker broke after former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia got a grand welcome in Bhopal a day after joining BJP in Delhi.
Scindia, who has been announced as the BJP’s candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls on March 16 from the state, also attended a dinner at former chief minister Shivarj Singh Chouhan’s home on Thursday night with senior party leaders.
Now, BJP leaders who had submitted the rebel Congress MLAs resignation to Speaker on March 9, are pushing for floor test on March 16, the inaugural day of the Assembly’s budget session.
“The Congress government is in minority. We are going to request the Governor and the Speaker for a floor test on March 16 when the state budget session begins,” said BJP’s chief whip in the state assembly, Narottam Mishra, on Thursday.
Mishra said the Governor and the Speaker have the resignations of 22 MLAs. Now it is up to them to take a call. “The floor test should be conducted ahead of Governor’s address as, the state government for whom Governor will address the House has been rendered into a minority with the recent crisis. The Kamal Nath-led MP government must prove its numbers before the budget session begins on March 16,” he asserted.
Mishra also challenged Congress leader Digvijaya Singh to prove majority in House and claimed that the BJP would successfully form a government in eight to 10 days.
Hitting back at BJP over the floor test, Singh said there would be no floor test as the resignations of MLAs had not been accepted. “The floor test cannot take place as the resignations submitted by 19 MLAs have not been accepted, they should physically meet the Speaker and submit their resignations. “These MLAs have been held hostage by BJP,” he alleged.
CM Meet Governor, Demands Action against BJP
On Friday morning, Chief Minister Kamal Nath met with governor Lalji Tandon and gave him a three-page letter, wherein he accused the BJP of deliberately trying to destabilise the elected government through horse trading.
Citing constitutional duties of the governor Nath urged the Governor to take action against the BJP leaders involved in this entire episode and said that “the government is open for floor test once the Assembly speaker is satisfied with the resignation.”
MP Ministers Manhandled in Bengaluru?
The Congress on Thursday alleged that two ministers of the Kamal Nath government were assaulted and arrested by the Bangalore police when they went to the resort where 19 MLAs had been lodged.
Senior Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Vivek Tankha held a press meet where they showed videos of ministers Jitu Patwari and Lakhan Singh Yadav being shoved around in Bengaluru. They also showed pictures of the hotel where rebel Congress MLAs were having lunch with Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders under heavy police security.
The two ministers had gone to the resort along with Narayan Choudhary, father of MLA Manoj Choudhary, who is one of the 19 legislators cooped up in the resort. Patwari is a relative of Manoj Choudhary. The Congress showed videos of how Patwari, Lakhan and Narayan Choudhary were allegedly manhandled by the police, bodily lifted into a police bus and taken away. Choudhary is seen in the videos in a pair of swimming shorts and with a towel around his neck.
“This is a case of abduction and forced captivity,” Tankha, an eminent lawyer, alleged. “You abduct and take our MLAs to a different region and hold them hostage. They cannot even contact their families as their mobile phones have been taken away. They are not there out of free will. A BJP delegation, led by senior leaders takes resignations from MLAs on Holi and returns to Bhopal to submit them to the Speaker. No one knows under what circumstances these resignations were taken from our MLAs,” Tankha alleged.
The Congress leader also alleged that the ministers were assaulted and arrested. “After speaking to his father, Manoj wanted to return. To release people held captive is the duty of every citizen. Our ministers were trying to do what police should have done. They were assaulted and arrested because a father wanted to bring his son home. This is condemnable,” he argued.