As Kamal Nath has been asked to face the floor test and prove majority in the Assembly on Monday, the beginning of the budget session, by Governor Lalji Tandon, Nath’s frustration is pretty much visible in his media conferences and his actions.
In the latest action to save his government, Kamal Nath has asked Union Home Minister Amit Shah for help. On Saturday, Nath wrote a letter addressed to Amit Shah and asked for the “release” of 22 Congress MLAs “held” in Bengaluru.
“Please use your power as Union home minister so that 22 Congress MLAs held captive can safely reach Madhya Pradesh and participate in the Assembly session beginning from March 16 without any allurement and fear,” reads a paragraph in the four page letter by Kamal Nath to Amit Shah, which was put before the media on Saturday. In his letter, Kamal Nath assured Shah that he will provide full security to the 22 MLAs, if they are “released”.
Earlier the Governor asked the CM to prove majority in the house on Monday. “The Madhya Pradesh Assembly’s session will commence at 16 March, 2020, at 11 am, and after my address to the assembly, the first work to be conducted will be voting on trust vote,” reads the yesterday’s late night order by the Governor.
With the exit of Jyotiraditya Scindia from Congress and the resignation of 16 MLAs of Scindia’s camp, the Congress party no longer has majority in the assembly. In the election, Congress won 114 seats against 109 of BJP.
116 seats are needed to prove the majority in 230 seats Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly and the Congress party made the government with the help of 2 BSL MLAs and 4 independents. However, a few days ago, Scindia rebelled against the Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh led Congress government, and joined BJP on March 11. With Scindia’s rebellion, 16 MLAs resigned and few hours after another 6 left Congress party.
Now Congress has only 92 MLAs while support of at least 105 MLAs is needed to prove the majority, if the resignation of Scindia’s camp MLAs is accepted. BJP, with 107 MLAs, could easily prove the majority in 208 MLAs assembly, even if the rebels Congress MLAs are suspended under the anti-defection law.
Therefore, the situation in Madhya Pradesh is not favorable to Congress and Kamal Nath, and both are responsible for this. So far, Kamal Nath has run a vengeful and unsuccessful government in the last one year. His government could not deliver on the promises like farm loan waiver while frequent power cuts became additional problem. He also changed the whole administration and management of many universities like MakhanLal Chaturvedi University, and placed the Congress loonies there.
Congress won the MP assembly election in 2018, riding on the exception performance in Gwalior Chambal region, family bastion of Scindia. BJP won 107 seats in the 230 member assembly against 114 of the Congress party, which made the government in alliance with BSP, SP, and Independents. BJP won higher popular vote percentage with 41 against 40.9 of Congress party.
However, despite the fact that Congress won due to Scindia’s leadership and his aggressive campaign in the Gwalior region, he was not made chief minister of the state. Instead, the party chose Kamal Nath, a 73 year old leader who was born in Kanpur.
Moreover, Nath comes from Punjabi khatri family which has no social or political base in Madhya Pradesh. On the other hand, Madhya Pradesh has the second largest Marathi population after Maharashtra, and has considerable social and political influence. Apart from being a Maratha, Scindia has a considerable influence among the Rajputs, who associate themselves with the ruling Maratha community and Scindia dynasty. Any small time political expert would tell you that 49 year old Scindia was better choice for CM than 73 year old Kamal Nath.
But the Congress party could not see this, and made Kamat Nath CM of MP, just because he is family loyalist. Congress’s performance in the Nath’s region was not exceptional, unlike Scindia’s; but Nath has one unique quality of being old time Gandhi family loyalist and therefore he was awarded with the CM seat. And Now the party has to pay the price of placing family loyalist as CM by losing the government as well as one of its most bright young leaders.