Jyotiraditya Scindia Meets PM, 20 Congress MLAs Prep Exit In Madhya Pradesh

Ghughuti Bulletin


Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has met Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah


Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, accompanied by Home Minister Amit Shah, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi this morning, as the Congress government in the state edges closer to a dramatic collapse. Sources said the influential Congress leader may join the BJP today in a shock move and be nominated to the Rajya Sabha as its member.

Sources also said that as many as 20 Congress MLAs stand ready to submit letters of resignation, by fax, to the Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly in a move that will topple the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government.

Should the government fall, it will be the second since the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka last year and represent a major setback to a party already struggling for relevance after two successive routs in Lok Sabha polls.

As the crisis unfolds, senior Congress leader KC Venugopal met party chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.

The BJP, which has called its MLAs to Bhopal, will hold a meeting at a hotel in the city at 6 pm and is widely expected to stake claim to the government shortly. The party is likely to present former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as its chief ministerial candidate.

Former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh told reporters there is a “conspiracy to topple the government” and accused Mr Chouhan of “lying”.

Earlier today Mr Chouhan said his party was not interested in toppling the government and termed the developments as the “internal matter” of the ruling party.

Congress leaders Sachin Pilot and Karan Singh are leading reconciliation efforts with Jyotiraditya Scindia. Mr Pilot, who is also Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, tweeted: “I am hopeful the current crisis in MP ends soon and leaders are able to resolve differences”.

A formula had reportedly been offered to send him to the Rajya Sabha as the Congress’s first preference candidate, sources in Madhya Pradesh Congress told NDTV.

There has been no official confirmation of this.

Mr Scindia, who was once close to the Gandhi family, has been unhappy with senior Congress leadership for some time now.

In December 2018 he was passed over chief ministership after he was able to show support from only 23 MLAs despite his contribution to the Congress’s victory in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years.

In August he was a surprise addition to a list of party leaders who openly supported the centre over its contentious decision to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and split it into two union territories.

The Congress has been unable to reach Mr Scindia since the drama began, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh told reporters on Monday night. This was after 17 MLAs loyal to Mr Scindia were flown to BJP-ruled Karnataka in a chartered flight.

“We tried to contact Scindiaji (Jyotiraditya Scindia) but it is being said that he has swine flu, so haven’t been able to speak to him,” Mr Singh said.

As of now, the Madhya Pradesh government has 120 MLAs – just four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly.

Of these 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.

The crisis surrounding Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s government began last week after 10 MLAs were allegedly confined by the BJP to a resort near Delhi and reportedly offered up to Rs 35 crore.

A “rescue” operation led by Digvijaya Singh brought back six of them.

However, Hardeep Dang, one of the four who had stayed away, set the Kamal Nath government wobbling after he sent his resignation letter to the Speaker.

The rest also returned later and denied Congress claims the BJP offered them money or held them hostage. All four made it clear there was no threat to the government.

The BJP’s alleged involvement in any such operation has been steadfastly denied by senior leader Narottam Mishra, whom sources had told NDTV was among those leading the plot, titled Operation Rangpanchami (named because the BJP wanted the government to fall during the festival of Holi) to bring the government down.

Mr Mishra told NDTV: “The date for Holi is fixed… and how can I tell when this government’s internal problems and contradictions will cause it to fall?”

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