File photo of Kamal Nath
File photo of Kamal Nath

MP political crisis: 20 ministers resign to give Kamal Nath free hand


Bhopal, March 10, 2020

All the 20 cabinet ministers of the Congress government present in Bhopal handed over their resignations to Chief Minister Kamal Nath at around 11.30 p.m. on Monday.

The sources in the party say that, barring the eight ministers of Jyotiraditya Scindia camp, the resignations have made way for Chief Minister Kamal Nath to reconstitute the ministry even as the crisis showed no signs of being resolved.

State PWD Minister Sajjan Singh Verma told newsmen at around 11.40 p.m. that Congress would foil all the moves of the opposition to destabilise the democratically elected government.

Verma and MP Forest Minister Umang Singhar claimed that the Congress government in MP was in no danger.

On the other hand, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia is learnt to have met senior BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and claimed that about 40 MLAs were with him.

State Commercial Taxes Minister Brijendra Singh Rathore and Power Minister Priyavrat Singh also confirmed that 20 cabinet ministers had resigned. Rathore still asserted that the Congress government in MP would complete five years in office.

Singhar said Scindia was very much with the Congress.

State Home Minister Bala Bachchan also claimed that since the council of ministers was to be reconstituted, it was a definite sign that the Congress government was totally safe. "All is well," asserted Bachchan.

Addressing the meeting, Kamal Nath said: "I will not allow anyone to destabilize my government with the help of mafia."

"I have dedicated all my life in serving the people, but BJP has indulged in immoral practices to topple the government," Nath said.

"My biggest strength is people's faith and their love showered on me. I will not allow anyone to destabilize the government elected by the people, he said.

Earlier, the Chief Minister remained engaged in troubleshooting exercises to save his government that was on a sticky wicket after several MLAs flew at the instance of Scindia to Bengaluru.

To add to the woes of the ruling party in Madhya Pradesh, many MLAs including ministers belonging to the camp of Scindia, who is posturing to get his upper house berths on Monday flew to Bengaluru.

The Ministers in Scindia's camp such as Tulsi Silavat, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Govind Singh Rajput, Imarti Devi, Pradyumna Singh Tomar and Prabhura Choudhary remained incommunicado, keeping their phones switched off.

It is a fight for the survival of Scindia now.

Earlier in the day, a section of Congress leaders, mostly of Kamal Nath camp demanded that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra be nominated from the state for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls apparently to thwart Scindia's chance to reach the Upper House.

Scindia and Nath have fallen out over the post of the state Congress president, which is currently held by the chief minister.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, once close to the Gandhis, has stayed back in Delhi and the Congress is making frantic attempts to negotiate a compromise that looks very difficult under the current circumstances.

Senior leaders say the speed and determination with which Scindia acted signals that this may be more than just muscle-flexing and he might have decided to play for a finish. As reports suggested he was headed towards the BJP, Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting with his party leaders in Delhi.

A formula could still be offered to Scindia to send him to Rajya Sabha as first preference candidate.

His close confidante, health minister Tulsi Silawat -- a Dalit face -- could succeed Kamal Nath as the new state Congress chief.

The Kamal Nath government has 120 MLAs -- just 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 Samajwadi Party and four are independents. The BJP has 107 MLAs and two seats are currently vacant.