Madhya Pradesh governor Lalji Tandon has written to chief minister Kamal Nath, asking him to conduct the floor test Tuesday, after the latter got the assembly adjourned till 26 March citing coronavirus scare. The Kamal Nath government is facing a crisis since the resignation of its 22 MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia, who quit Congress and joined the BJP.
ThePrint asks: MP assembly trust vote deferred: Will it save Kamal Nath govt or delay the inevitable?
Mockery of democracy to hold Congress MLAs captive and say the party is in minority in MP
Chairperson of media department, Madhya Pradesh Congress
The Kamal Nath-led Congress government has the majority. There’s no question of coming back to power since we are still in the government. It is a mockery of democracy to hold MLAs of the government in captivity and say that the party is in minority.
We don’t need numbers, we have our majority and we will prove it. When Kamal Nath met the governor for the first time regarding this fiasco, he informed him that the government is ready for a floor test. We also wrote a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah asking for our MLAs to be freed. But neither Shah nor the governor is taking cognisance of this serious matter. The videos of relatives allegedly not being allowed to meet the MLAs are doing the rounds. What democracy are we talking about?
The rights of the governor are defined in the Constitution, but you cannot deny the rights of the speaker of the assembly at the same time. The governor cannot suggest or instruct, and the decision should be taken by the members of the assembly. The position of a governor is much above politics and one has to uphold the sanctity of that position.
On verge of losing power, scared Kamal Nath is questioning constitutional rights of governor
Media chief, BJP Madhya Pradesh
The Congress government in the state will soon be dismantled. All the legal options for the BJP are open and our MLAs will meet the governor of Madhya Pradesh soon. It is clear that democracy is a game of numbers and the Kamal Nath government doesn’t have them.
The Kamal Nath government is scared and today, they have done something unconstitutional. Governor Lalji Tandon had directed the Congress to prove their majority in the house but instead of doing that, Kamal Nath government said that the governor cannot give such orders.
Citing past observations of the Supreme Court, Kamal Nath said that the governor’s connectivity to the assembly should be limited to what is considered appropriate by the council of ministers. He should have clarified in what context the recommendations of the council of ministers are required. Article 175 of the Constitution specifies the right of the governor to address and send messages to the house. But today, Kamal Nath said that the governor cannot order the speaker, the chief of the assembly.
Kamal Nath, the Sharad Pawar of MP politics, can delay the crisis but can’t avert it
ORF Visiting Fellow
Kamal Nath is the Sharad Pawar of Madhya Pradesh politics. The seasoned politician will fight till the end and is capable of springing surprises. However, current circumstances do not favour Kamal Nath because he needs to get at least 10 BJP MLAs to switch sides. That is nowhere in the realm of possibility right now.
So, the Kamal Nath government can, at best, survive for a few more days by buying time. He is set against the might of the Narendra Modi government, governor Lalji Tandon, and a range of other agencies determined to unseat him. This ‘institutional pressure’ is Kamal Nath’s biggest hurdle.
Kamal Nath also faces an obstacle in Congress leadership. For each significant move, he has to seek Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s approval.
Kamal Nath has a formidable reputation of bringing down Janata Party governments of Morarji Desai and Charan Singh, but that is a thing of the past. All this past history and false sense of grandeur that the Congress suffers from is neither relevant nor helping today. The party has lost public sympathy.
People who know Kamal Nath say only he can pull it off for Congress. And BJP’s anxiety explains it clearly
Journalist and political commentator
Given the current state of play, the Congress’ continuance in power in Madhya Pradesh hinges on whether a majority of the MLAs — currently being held “in captivity” in Bengaluru — can be persuaded to return ‘home.’
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath may have bought himself 10 days more to win back power. But whether he gets the advantage will depend on the Supreme Court’s response to his predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s plea challenging the Speaker’s decision to postpone the floor test, and asking that it take place within the next 12 hours.
Nevertheless, most people who know Kamal Nath say that even though the Congress looks helpless, if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Kamal Nath — a reference to his famous “deal-making” skills. This also probably explains the BJP’s anxiety to hasten the floor test.
And let’s not forget the wild card that Kamal Nath has thrown into the mix. Apart from repeating the well-established rule that the word of the assembly speaker is final, he has also referred to the current coronavirus pandemic.
However, given the current mood in the Congress — there has just been a revolt in its Gujarat unit — and the “buying power” of the BJP, Kamal Nath’s chances look slim.
By Unnati Sharma, journalist at ThePrint