Chief minister Kamal Nath calls on Governor Lalji Tandon at Raj Bhavan on Friday.
Chief minister Kamal Nath calls on Governor Lalji Tandon at Raj Bhavan on Friday.

BHOPAL: Chief Minister Kamal Nath called on Governor Lalji Tandon on Friday and expressed readiness of his government for a floor test in the Assembly. He also accused BJP of indulging in immoral, unethical and illegal acts of ‘horse trading’and holding 22 Congress MLAs in captivity. Nath said he would welcome a floor test in the assembly, whose budget session is beginning from March 16, on a date fixed by the Speaker.

The chief minister made the statement after calling on Governor Lalji Tandon here, his first meeting since rebellion by a section of Congress MLAs three days ago which pushed his government into crisis. He also submitted a letter to the governor.

The opposition BJP has consistently denied the Congress charge of poaching MLAs to topple its government. The CM-governor meeting at Raj Bhavan, which began around 11 am, lasted for around half an hour. “I wished Governor on the occasion of Holi. Our 22 MLAs are being held captive. I have submitted a letter to him alleging horse-trading by the BJP.”

“I have demanded that these MLAs be released immediately. Floor test can be held anytime,” Nath told reporters after meeting Tandon. Nath’s letter said, “As a responsible leader of Indian National Congress, I invite and would welcome a floor test of my government in the forthcoming session of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly already notified from March 16, 2020, on a date fixed by the Speaker. This is the minimum a constitutional authority can offer to address the ongoing turmoil.”

Nath also sought the governor's intervention for release of the captive Congress MLAs. “We request your excellency may use your good office as constitutional Head of the state with the Union Home Minister to ensure the release of MLAs held captive in Bengaluru. We expect enquiry and investigation in the resignation letters submitted by the BJP allegedly of the captive Congress MLAs and its timely completion,” the letter said.

Nath mentioned the sequence of events from the intervening night of March 3-4 to March 10, and claimed there were incidents of horse-trading during this period. “In the first attempt (of horse trading), on 3rd/4th of March 2020, the mid-night drama leading to whisking away the MLAs to Bengaluru is in public domain,” he said in the letter.

“Post failure of first attempt, the BJP, on March 8, 2020, arranged three chartered aircraft to whisk away 19 MLAs of the Congress to Bengaluru. Since then these 19 MLAs, of who six are cabinet ministers, are incommunicado in the resort arranged by the BJP,” the chief minister said. “Nobody is allowed access and/or any sort of communication with the 19 captive MLAs,” he said. Nath pointed out that senior BJP leaders reached the Speaker’s residence at about 5.50 pm on March 10 to handover 19 resignation letters allegedly of these Congress MLAs. None of these MLAs were present to tender their resignation, he said.

“In a most unusual act and/or conduct, the resignations of 19 Congress MLAs were submitted by leaders of BJP and not by MLAs themselves. This demonstrates the complicity of BJP leaders in entire conspiracy and illegal action,” the letter stated.

The CM also mentioned about the incident on Thursday in Bengaluru where MP ministers Jitu Patwari and Lakhan Singh were allegedly manhandled by the police when they reached to meet Congress MLA Manoj Choudhary. “In these circumstances, the very edifice of democracy is in danger,” Nath said in the letter.

“This is sheer mockery of Rule of Law, wherein BJP leaders hatched a conspiracy of abducting Congress MLAs to destabilize the duly constituted state government. There are various pictures and videos of the said incidents,” read the letter.

Politics in Madhya Pradesh infected by coronavirus: Kamal Nath

Politics in Madhya Pradesh has been infected by the coronavirus, CM Kamal Nath quipped on Friday in the backdrop of crisis faced by his government following resignation by 22 rebel Congress MLAs. “The coronavirus to yahan politics me hai...baad me dekha jayega (the coronavirus is here in politics... will see later),” Nath said when asked about threat of the viral infection in Madhya Pradesh. He said that the BJP first abducted 22 MLAs and is now demanding floor test. “Floor test is only possible when they all the freed people and should brought them in front of media. The floor test can be done on the governor’s speech and also on the budget,” he added.

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