Congress Criss in MP As MLA Hardeep Singh Dang Resigns; 3 More Missing
BHOPAL/NEW DELHI : One of the four missing Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh has sent his resignation letter to state assembly Speaker NP Prajapati. In the letter, Hardeep Dang said despite getting the people’s mandate for a second time, he is constantly being ignored by the party. “None of the ministers are ready to work as they are part of a corrupt government,” his letter read.
Hardeep Dang was one of the 10 MLAs who were allegedly spirited away by the BJP in an effort to bring down the government on Tuesday. The Congress said it managed to recover six of the MLAs from a hotel in Gurgaon, near Delhi, after a late-night rescue operation on Tuesday. Hardeep Dang, Raghuraj Kansana, Bisahulal Singh and Independent member Shera Bhaiya remained missing.
The Kamal Nath government has 120 MLAs — four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. Of them, 114 are from the Congress, two from the BSP, one from the Samajwadi Party and four independents. The BJP has 107 MLAs and two seats are currently vacant. If the three other missing MLAs resign, it would bring down the number n the assembly to 224 and the majority mark to 113.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh — who hinted at such a possibility earlier this week — said the BJP was “offering Rs 25-35 crore” to the MLAs. He claiming that Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP is eyeing to come back to power through horse-trading in the state. he said, “I don’t speak without evidenceShivraj Singh Chouhan and Narottam Mishra [another BJP leader] are behind this.”
Insisting that the government was safe, the party alleged that it was part of the BJP’s annual effort to increase the numbers in Rajya Sabha, where they are in minority.
Claiming later that the BJP was trying to bring 14 MLAs on its side, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “The Congress government stopped mafias – land mafia, chit fund mafia, extortion mafia… This had been going on for 15 years”. The BJP “conspiracy” to destabilise the government was because “they thought they will be behind bars”, he said.
That the BJP is trying to dislodge the Kamal Nath government is the most-repeated theory behind the Madhya Pradesh Congress crisis. Some have called it Operation Rangpanchami – unseating of the Congress by the BJP during Holi. Operation Kamal, however, is the common refrain to describe this attempted coup.
To deny the charges leveled by Digvijaya Singh and late also by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narottam Mishra said their hands were clean but both asserted the Congress government “will fall under its own weight”. Mishra even claimed that due to “dissatisfaction” with the Kamal Nath government around 20 Congress MLAs were in his touch.
Later, four MLAs supporting the Kamal Nath government travelled to Bengaluru and were reported to be staying at a resort. These are the “missing”. Kamal Nath government is standing on the support of 113 Congress MLAs in 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
For a dislodging attempt, it would be the third time that the BJP has tried to oust the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government in eight months. The two previous attempts came out in public domain in July and November last year. In July, the BJP attempted to fuel ambitions of seven Congress MLAs from Gwalior-Chambal region. The Congress outsmarted the BJP with the “ghar wapasi” of two of the turncoats winning assembly election on Lotus symbol.
Many within and outside the Congress party have linked the MP’s political crisis to the Rajya Sabha election due for March 26. Nationally, the Rajya Sabh election will be held for 55 seats including one nominated. In Madhya Pradesh, three seats are going vacant.
The three Madhya Pradesh Rajya Sabha seats are currently held by Satyanarayan Jatiya and Prabhat Jha of the BJP, and Digvijaya Singh of the Congress. The BJP has its own issues in deciding who to send to the Rajya Sabha but the Congress is fighting its own demon.
With each candidate needing support of 58 MLAs – first preferential vote – to win, both the Congress (113) and the BJP (107) are sure of winning one seat each. The fight is for the second seat.
Speculation that the Congress high command in New Delhi wants to send Priyanka Gandhi to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh has added fuel to the fire. This makes one seat reserved in the Congress and other open as it lacks the enough number on its own.
This also opens up the avenues for the BJP to embarrass the Congress by stealing the second seat, for which the party is in a limbo itself. Suggestions are that the central leadership of the BJP wants Shivraj Singh Chouhan moving to the national politics with someone younger taking over in Madhya Pradesh.
But among the retiring BJP MPs one is a Dalit leader – Jatiya – while the other is an RSS product – Jha. Dispensing of anyone of them to bring in Shivraj Singh Chouhan may have its own consequences. Jatiya is more likely to retain his nomination. To have Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the BJP needs dissension in the Congress and backers’ rank.
Ultimately, it is a battle between Digvijaya Singh-two successive term chief minister-and his three-term chief ministerial successor Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Madhya Pradesh minister Umang Singhar left little doubt with his tweet.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs ).