Madhya Pradesh assembly
Holi though maybe a festival of colors but the politics of Madhya Pradesh was right along sitting on a heap of firecrackers expecting just a spark. and therefore the spark was provided. At stake is that the way forward for the one-and-a-half-year-old Kamal Nath-led Congress government.
But the protagonist calling the shots is Jyotiraditya Scindia–a tall Congress leader who is presently neither an MP nor even an MLA.
The current crisis was fueled when 19 Congress MLAs who are said to be loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia, including some sitting ministers within the Kamal Nath-led state cabinet, took a flight and landed in Bengaluru. Since then, speculation has been rife that these MLAs may join the BJP anytime.
If this happens, the Kamal Nath government will need to face a floor test to prove its majority within the assembly– an uphill task is given the very fact that the difference between BJP and Congress tally is extremely thin within the Madhya Pradesh assembly.
Jyotiraditya Scindia himself resigned from the Congress party’s primary membership today, moments after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. He was amid Home Minister Amit Shah for the meeting with PM Modi.
His resignation letter is dated March 9 i.e. he had made up his mind of quitting the Congress party on Monday itself.
n the letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Scindia wrote: “I am tendering my resignation from the first member of the Indian National Congress and as you well know, this is often a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year…I believe I’m unable to (serve the people of my state and country) anymore within this party…I believe it’s best that I now look ahead at a clean slate .”
Soon after Scindia’s resignation, the 19 Congress MLAs loyal to him also sent their resignation letters to Speaker NP Prajapati.
HOW NUMBERS pile up IN MADHYA PRADESH
The Madhya Pradesh assembly features a strength of 230 members. Two members have died since the assembly elections were held in 2018. With this, the effective strength falls to 228 and therefore the atomic number required to make government is 115.
Of the 228 MLAs:
Congress has: 114 MLAs
BJP has: 109 MLAs
BSP has: 2 MLAs
Samajwadi Party has: 1 MLA
Independents have: 4 MLAs
The Congress alone doesn’t enjoy a majority within the Madhya Pradesh assembly and was running the govt with the support of the BSP (4 MLAs) and SP (1 MLA), taking its tally to 119.
However, if the resignation of the 19 Congress MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia is accepted by Speaker NP Prajapati, the general strength of the assembly will fall to 209, and therefore the atomic number required to make government are going to be 105.
In that scenario, Congress would be left with just 95 MLAs, while the BJP would still be having 109 MLAs within the state assembly, a cushty number to make government.
And if the BJP does form a government in Madhya Pradesh, it might regain a number of its lost saffron hue on India’s political map.
As mentioned above, Jyotiraditya Scindia met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and residential Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi today for a closed-door meeting, following which he posted his resignation letter on Twitter.
There are reports that Scindia was eyeing for one among the three Rajya Sabha seats from Madhya Pradesh which are getting to polls. If Jyotiraditya Scindia joins the BJP, it’s possible that he would be sent to the Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket and should even get a ministership within the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
For the BJP, this suggests it’ll regain power in Madhya Pradesh.
SPEAKER NP PRAJAPATI
The role of Madhya Pradesh assembly Speaker NP Prajapati becomes vital at this stage. As per law, an MLA who wishes to reign has got to send his/her resignation letter to the Speaker. The resignation becomes official only the Speaker accepts it. Merely submitting a resignation letter doesn’t make it official.
Article 190 of the Indian Constitution lays down the principles on how an MLA can resign. The law says the resignation letter must be addressed to the Speaker and only the Speaker can accept the resignation (not the Governor).
Besides this, the article empowers the Speaker to form independent inquiry about the resignation and has got to satisfy him/herself that the resignation is voluntary and not struggling.
“If from information received or otherwise and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, the Speaker is satisfied that such resignation isn’t voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation,” the Constitution says.
What would even be important to ascertain whether the 19 Congress MLAs who have tendered resignation await the Speaker to officially accept them before joining the BJP, or whether or not they will join the BJP straightaway?
In case they join the BJP before the Speaker officially accepts their resignation, they’re likely to ask action under the Anti-Defection Law because they might have joined the BJP at a time once they were still Congress MLAs. However, if they resign first (and it gets accepted) then join the BJP, they’re going to escape action under the Anti-Defection Law and can be liberal to contest fresh elections in polls which will be subsequently held.
Madhya Pradesh may be a politically important state and was one of the three major states where the Congress was ready to unseat the BJP months before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP had been in power for 15 years.