Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath submitted his resignation to Governor Lalji Tandon on Friday afternoon. Nath resigned hours before the floor test, ordered by the Supreme Court on March 19.
In his resignation letter, Nath wrote: "In 40 years of my political carrier, I have done politics of values and always followed the constitutional ethos. Whatever happened in last two weeks in Madhya Pradesh is the new chapter of devaluation of democratic values in India."
"I'm resigning from CM's post and congratulate the new Chief Minister of the state." he wrote in the resignation letter. Governor Tandon, however, asked him to continue as interim CM until the formation of new government.
According to the sources, in a morning meeting, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs have already sealed the name of Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the Chief Minister’s post, who is likely to take oath for the fourth time on Saturday.
The new government will present the budget on March 28, 2020 and cabinet expansion will take place in the following week, sources said.
In a late development, State Assembly speaker, NP Prajapati, accepted the resignation of remaining 16 rebel Congress MLAs. The Speaker has already accepted the resignation of six MLAs on March 15, 2020. Interestingly, the Speaker also accepted the resignation of a BJP MLA Sarad Koul, who voted in favour of the Kamal Nath government previously. Koul, however, claimed that he had been forced to resign.
Now, the 230-member State Assembly has shrunk to 205 and 103 is the magic figure to form government. Despite the resignation of an MLA, BJP has 106 MLAs and the Congress is left with 92 MLAs in its kitty. Of the remaining seven MLA, two are from Bahujan Samaj Party, one from Samajwadi Party and four independents.
The BJP has clear majority in the House until the by-elections take place on the 25 vacant seats.
Will BJP Continue Congress' Schemes?
Addressing his last press conference as Chief Minister, Nath flagged his government’s schemes like loan waiver, cheap electricity, New Liquor Policy, Sand Mining Policy, Bonus on crops, OBC reservation from 14% to 27% and so on. Now the million-dollar question is, will the BJP, which had lambasted the Congress for discontinuing its ‘pro-poor’ schemes, continue with Congress’ major schemes?
Commenting on the issue, senior journalist Shahroz Afridi said: “Loan waiver, bonus on various crops could be prove an Achilles’ Heel for BJP, if the party discontinues it. The saffron party is left with no option but to fulfil the promises made by Congress. However, the government coffers re almost empty and it has a debt of around Rs 1.92 lakh crore.”
Congress claimed to have waived farm loans of 20 lakh farmers across the state. Its cheap electricity scheme has benefited more than one crore people, said Nath, while reading out his statement before his resignation on Friday.
Journalist Rakesh Dixit claimed that Nath’s New Liquor Policy, Sand Mining Policy and increase in OBC reservation quota from 14% to 27% are decisions which can’t be withdrawn. The BJP government can tweak the polices, but they can’t do away with OBC quota which is under observation in the High Court.”
Dixit further said that the state government is sure to shift its stance on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizenship. “Since there was a Congress government in the state, Nath has announced rejection of all these. Now, we can expect an Uttar Pradesh-like model in Madhya Pradesh where anti-CAA protestors have been getting treatment like a state enemy and NPR survey will take place without any change.”
What of the rebel Congress MLAs?
Talking to the media, the rebel Congress MLAs dodged the question of joining the BJP. Addressing a press conference on March 18, they said: “Everyone will come together and then take a decision.”
Now, the question is, what is the future of these rebel 22 MLAs, who resigned from the party in solidarity with Jyotriaditya Scindia, who has switched over to BJP? They may get tickets to contest the bypolls or mid-term polls, as the case may turn out to be, and may get ministerial berths again in the BJP government, but what happens to hundreds of Scindia supporters in the Congress party who resigned with him? Will they also be accommodated in BJP?
Pankaj Chaturvedi, who was Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) spokesperson, took no time to resign after Scindia did so. "I have also resigned. I would be where my leader is," was his reply when asked whether he was with the Congress or BJP.
When asked whether he had any communication with Scindia on how he proposes to accommodate him or other supporters like him, Chaturvedi said: I have full faith in him. He has always taken care of us and we are sure he would continue doing so."
On March 15, after Speaker NP Prajapati’s notice was sent to rebel MLAs to meet him in person for him to be able to accept their resignation, they were on their way to Bhopal, but cancelled their plan citing security threat. Soon after, BJP Chief JP Nadda went to Bengaluru to meet rebel Congress MLAs and held a meeting with them behind closed doors.
Pramod Tandon, who was president of Indore (city) unit of Congress party, and also resigned as he is a Scindia loyalist, when asked about his future plans, said: “I resigned from Congress but have not joined BJP as yet. I will after consulting Scindia ji. I have complete faith in him.”
However, political commentator Rasheed Kidwai said: “It would be interesting to see how the BJP accommodates Scindia loyalist MLAs and workers.”
“The rebel Congress MLAs have openly denying joining BJP, but, they have no option but to follow Scindia’s path and join the saffron party. They have met BJP Chief JP Nadda and he must have promised them something. We should wait for it.” he added.