New Delhi: The Kamal Nath administration in Madhya Pradesh is on the brink of collapse after at least 21 MLAs and a state spokesperson tendered their resignations Tuesday, a day after former Guna MP and senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party. Six of them are ministers in the state government.
Many of these MLAs are from the Gwalior-Guna region, the hometown of Scindia, a former royal. They include known Scindia loyalists and at least one MLA who has previously been accused of malpractice by the BJP. Yet another MLA was known as a diehard supporter of Congress MP Digvijaya Singh, while one of the ministers was discussing the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak with Nath just days ago.
1) Pradhuman Singh Tomar: Civil supplies minister in the state government, the Gwalior MLA refers to himself as a “Scindia soldier”. In November 2019, a controversy erupted as Tomar fell to Scindia’s feet while receiving him at the Gwalior railway station despite the leader’s obvious disapproval. The BJP accused the Congress of “promoting worship culture”, and took a jibe at Tomar. “Would Pradhuman Singh Tomar be a minister without the help of Jyotiraditya Scindia?” BJP leader Prabhat Jha was quoted as saying.
Tomar justified the act, saying he “has no qualms in showing his respect for his leader in public”.
2) Govind Singh Rajput: The revenue minister is the MLA from Surkhi, which is part of the Sagar Lok Sabha constituency. Rajput is another Scindia loyalist. Earlier this month, after the announcement of Rajya Sabha elections, he had demanded that the party field Scindia on one of the three seats going to the polls.
3) Imarti Devi: The minister for women and child development, a three-time MLA from Dabra, had asserted just a month ago that the Congress is “united”. “Congress is united, no need for any dharna,” she had said in response to Scindia’s statement that he would hit the streets if the government didn’t fulfil its manifesto promise of farm loan waivers.
In August 2019, Devi had publicly expressed her displeasure when Scindia was appointed chairman of the Congress screening committee for the Maharashtra assembly elections, suggesting that he should have been given a role in Madhya Pradesh instead. “If responsibility had to be given, then it should be in Madhya Pradesh. Who is bothered about what is happening there (Maharashtra)?” she had said.
4) Tulsi Silawat: The health minister represents the reserved Sanwer constituency and is often described as the Kamal Nath government’s “Dalit face”. Last month, Silawat said he would send a proposal to the Modi government to cover the coronavirus treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Last week, Nath and Silawat held a review meeting to check the state’s preparedness against the virus. A few days later, Nath wrote to the MP governor seeking the immediate removal of Silawat and the five other rebel ministers.
5) Mahendra Singh Sisodia: Among the high-ranking ministers, he handles the labour portfolio. Sisodia holds the Bamori seat, which falls under the Guna constituency in Madhya Pradesh’s Chambal region. It’s a rural seat he won after defeating the BJP’s Brijmohan Singh “Azad” by 27,920 votes.
6) Prabhuram Choudhary: The MLA represents Sanchi, a reserved seat for Scheduled Castes. The school education minister had tweeted earlier this week that no one would be able to separate him from the “mother-like” party.
हमें हमारी पार्टी रूपी मां से अलग करने की ताकत किसी "माई का लाल" में नहीं। pic.twitter.com/qzNJKPlAW8
— Dr. Prabhuram choudhary (@DrPRChoudhary) March 4, 2020
7) Jaipal Singh ‘Jajji’: The MLA from Ashok Nagar, another reserved constituency, is soon expected to join the BJP. Not long ago, in November 2019, the BJP was demanding Singh’s disqualification from the assembly, accusing him of using fake caste certificates to contest elections.
8) Jasvant Jatav: The MLA from Karera, which is part of the Gwalior Lok Sabha constituency, has been a vocal critic of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister. Last month, Jatav had thrown his weight behind Scindia after the former MP said he would take to the streets if the government didn’t fulfil its manifesto promises.
9) Hardeep Singh Dang: A two-time MLA from Suwasra in Mandsaur, he tendered his resignation last Thursday, saying “no minister or official” was listening to him. CM Kamal Nath had, until that point, maintained that the Congress enjoyed the complete loyalty of Dang and the other MLAs who allegedly went under the radar last week.
Dang had previously created ripples when he came out in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), despite the Congress’ opposition to the controversial law. He had, like Scindia, also supported the BJP’s decision to scrap Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir.
10) Ranvir Jatav: The representative for the reserved assembly seat of Gohad, which falls in the Chambal region, surprised everyone last month when he announced that he would erect a statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. At the time, however, Jatav had rubbished speculation, only saying Vajpayee was everyone’s leader.
11) Munnalal Goyal: The MLA had expressed his discontentment with the Kamal Nath government in January and staged a dharna near the main gate of the Madhya Pradesh assembly. “I am not angry with the chief minister or any other minister. But I want the Congress to fulfil the promises, else people of my constituency will lose faith in me,” the MLA, who is considered to be a close associate of Scindia, had said at the time.
12) Bisahu Lal Singh: The MLA from Anuppur officially joined the BJP Tuesday evening. At a press conference alongside BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Singh accused the Congress of not giving him enough regard despite being a senior leader of the party. He also said he wasn’t acting under any pressure and had willingly left the party.
13) Raghuraj Singh Kansana: He won the 2018 assembly elections from Morena, which is 40 kilometres from Gwalior. The CBI had raided Kansana’s residence last year after his nephew, Kushal Singh, was named as an accused in a bank fraud case. He was one of the four legislators flown to Bengaluru last week, which first stoked rumours of an alleged poaching bid by the BJP.
14) Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon: A two-time MLA from Badnawar (a rural seat), which is part of the reserved Lok Sabha constituency of Dhar, Dattigaon is not new to controversies. In September 2018, an excise officer had alleged that the MLA had taken money from a liquor contractor.
15) OPS Bhadoria: The MLA from Mehgaon seat, which is in Chambal region’s Bhind district. In the 2018 polls, Bhadoria had defeated the BJP’s Rakesh Shukla by 25,814 votes.
16) Kamalesh Jatav: Holds the reserved Ambah seat in Morena, also in the Chambal region. In 2018, he had defeated independent candidate Neha Kinnar by a margin of 7,547 votes.
17) Brajendra Yadav: He first emerged on the political scene when he won the byelections from Mungaoli constituency in February 2018, after the passing away of incumbent Mahendra Singh Kalukheda. Yadav, a farmer by profession, retained the seat in the December 2018 state elections.
18) Suresh Rathkheda ‘Dhakad’: The MLA won the Pohari constituency in 2018 by defeating BJP incumbent Prahlad Bharti.
19) Raksha Santram Saroniya: A Scindia loyalist, Saroniya won the 2018 Madhya Pradesh elections from the Bhander constituency, which lies in Datia district and is reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates. Saroniya defeated the BJP’s Rajni Prajapati by 39,896 votes.
20) Girraj Dandotiya: He is the MLA from Dimani constituency, which lies in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district and is part of the Morena Lok Sabha constituency, close to Gwalior. Dandotiya defeated the BJP’s Shiv Mangal Singh Tomar in the 2018 state elections.
21) Aidal Singh Kansana: His switch to the Scindia camp came as a shocker as the MLA from Sumawali, which falls in Morena, was considered a Digvijaya Singh loyalist. When the Congress formed a government in Madhya Pradesh in 2018, he organised a protest after he was denied a cabinet berth.
Pankaj Chaturvedi, the 22nd Congress leader who has resigned: State Congress spokesperson Chaturvedi received a message in September 2019 that left him annoyed. It was congratulations over his “BJP membership” and had come from “VM-BJPMEM”. Chaturvedi had subsequently threatened to file a complaint with the MP Police cyber cell against the BJP. On Tuesday, Chaturvedi removed “Congress” from his Twitter bio and tweeted “Jahan Scindia ji, wahan main (I am where Scindia is)”.
— Pankaj Chaturvedi (@Pankajonmission) March 10, 2020