After Flight Of MLAs, “Unreachable” Jyotiraditya Scindia Riles Congress

Ghughuti Bulletin

Kamal Nath indicated he’s fighting back with a cabinet rejig on Jyotiraditya Scindia’s move

The Madhya Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Kamal Nath of the Congress is facing a crisis after 17 MLAs loyal to sulking party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia indicated they may pull out from the government, which enjoys a wafer thin majority in the heartland state. Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP has said the party has nothing to do with the crisis. “This is Congress’s internal matter and I would not like to comment on it. We had said on the first day that we are not interested in bringing down the government,” Mr Chouhan said. At least 17 Congress MLAs – including six ministers – loyal to Mr Scindia were flown by a chartered plane to Bengaluru in BJP-ruled Karnataka.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. The Congress’s Digvijaya Singh has said they haven’t been able to reach Mr Scindia yet. “We tried to contact Scindia ji but it is being told that he is suffering from swine flu, so haven’t been able to speak to him,” Mr Singh said.

  2. The Kamal Nath government has 120 MLAs — just four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. 114 are from the Congress, two from the BSP, one Samajwadi Party and four are independents. The BJP has 107 MLAs and two seats are currently vacant. If 17 exit, the Congress will lose its second state since Karnataka.

  3. A formula will be offered to Mr Scindia to send him to Rajya Sabha as first preference candidate, sources in Madhya Pradesh Congress told NDTV. His close confidante, health minister Tulsi Silawat – a Dalit face — could succeed Kamal Nath as the new state Congress chief. There has been no official confirmation of this.

  4. Kamal Nath indicated that he is fighting back with a cabinet rejig. After a cabinet meet on Monday evening, 20 ministers resigned. The legislature party would today evening. “I won’t let those forces succeed which are creating instability with mafia’s help… which are creating instability in government, a government created by people of Madhya Pradesh,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

  5. Senior leaders of Madhya Pradesh BJP — including former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and its MP from Morena, Narendra Singh Tomar — meanwhile attended a meeting at Union minister Amit Shah’s home. The BJP has called its MLAs to Bhopal for a show of strength today evening. Sources said Shivraj Singh Chouhan could be chosen the leader of the legislative party in the meeting.

  6. Bengaluru has been the go-to destination for rebel MLAs on the verge of switching sides from the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government. Last Tuesday, reports of nearly a dozen Congress MLAs camping at a five-star hotel near Delhi raised the spectre of the BJP toppling the fragile Madhya Pradesh government. One independent MLA was dramatically escorted out by senior Congress leaders after midnight. Later, more returned, some declaring that they were unhappy at being denied ministries.

  7. It seemed on Sunday that all but two “missing” MLAs were accounted for and the crisis may have blown over for the Congress. Signs of fresh trouble popped up again on Monday with reports of a possible meeting between Mr Scindia and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

  8. The past two years have been politically less than promising for Scindia junior, whose father Madhavrao Scindia was a senior Congress leader while grandmother Vijayraje was a BJP stalwart. Two of his aunts are also in the BJP.

  9. Mr Scindia, 49, lost the race for chief ministership in December 2018 when he was able to show the support of only 23 MLAs despite his sizeable contribution to the Congress’s victory in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years. Kamal Nath took over as Chief Minister and also retained control of the state Congress unit.

  10. Then Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was able to assuage Mr Scindia briefly by naming him general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh for last year’s national election, along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The party crashed miserably in UP and Mr Scindia, who barely campaigned in his constituency Guna in Madhya Pradesh, lost for the first time since 2002.

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