New Delhi: Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday afternoon, in the presence of party president J.P. Nadda. “I would like to thank J.P. Nadda ji, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah that they invited me to their family and gave me a place in it,” he said.
Sources have suggested that Scindia will likely be given a Rajya Sabha nomination from Madhya Pradesh and a cabinet ministerial berth for switching over.
— BJP (@BJP4India) March 11, 2020
After Scindia resigned from the Congress on Tuesday, taking with him 20 MLAs from the party and threatening to topple the government in Madhya Pradesh, the grand old party is planning to move other legislators to a resort in Jaipur. Over 80 Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh arrived at the Jaipur airport around 2:30 pm in a special flight from Bhopal, PTI reported. Meanwhile, the BJP’s MLAs are being moved to a hotel in Gurugram, according to reports.
— ANI (@ANI) March 10, 2020
Scindia had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, before announcing his resignation. He claimed in his letter that his aim of serving the people of the state and country cannot be achieved within the party.
Meanwhile, Congress’s Karnataka leader D.K. Shivakumar on Wednesday expressed confidence that most of the 20 MLAs would return to the party fold. He claimed to have been in touch with the MLAs, 19 of whom are in Bengaluru. The party will also send Madhya Pradesh minister Sajjan Singh Verma, a confidant of chief minister Kamal Nath, to Bengaluru to try and woo back the MLAs.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused PM Modi of ‘destabilising’ the elected Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Gandhi also said the PM has “missed” noticing the 35% crash in global oil prices and asked him to pass on the benefit to Indians by slashing petrol prices.
Hey @PMOIndia , while you were busy destabilising an elected Congress Govt, you may have missed noticing the 35% crash in global oil prices. Could you please pass on the benefit to Indians by slashing #petrol prices to under 60₹ per litre? Will help boost the stalled economy.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 11, 2020
On Tuesday, a defiant Kamal Nath said he will face the floor test in the assembly and prove his government’s majority. This came after the Congress’s legislature party met. According to news agency PTI, around 100 MLAs – including four independent legislators – were present. They expressed faith in the government.
Apart from the 20 rebel MLAs, two BSP MLAs and one SP MLA who have supported the government also skipped the meeting. Two of these MLAs, BSP’s Sanjiv Singh Kushwaha and SP’s Rajesh Shukla, met BJP leader and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday evening.
Chief minister Kamal Nath wrote to governor Lalji Tandon seeking the immediate removal of six ministers who belong to Scindia’s camp and who are among MLAs who have resigned. The letter named ministers Imarati Devi, Tulsi Silawat, Govind Singh Rajput, Mahendra Singh Sisodiya, Pradyumn Singh Tomar and Prabhuram Chaudhari.
The Congress’s Madhya Pradesh spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi, a close confidant of Scindia, resigned from the party’s primary membership soon after the latter announced he was quitting the party.
Speaker handed over resignation
On Tuesday, BJP leaders met assembly speaker N.P. Prajapati and handed resignations of 19 Congress MLAs who are holed up in a resort in Bengaluru. After receiving the letters, Prajapati told reporters that he will take a decision as per the rules.
While the Congress, which was voted to power in the state after 15 years in 2018, has 114 MLAs, the BJP has 107 legislators in the 230-member assembly. Two seats were vacant. Four Independent MLAs, two lawmakers of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one Samajwadi Party legislator are supporting the Congress-led government.
(With PTI inputs)