In the Supreme Court hearing on former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s plea seeking directions to the Kamal Nath government to undertake an immediate floor test in the Legislative Assembly, Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker on Thursday sought two weeks time to decide on resignation of rebel MLAs. Reacting to this, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has asked why does the Congress wants more time and whether they want to engage in horse-trading.
Speaking to the reporters in Bhopal, the former CM said, "We are relaxed, the MLAs are relaxed and looking at the times ahead, the people are also relaxed. The truth will triumph. Why do they want more time? For engaging in horse-trading? Now they know that they do not have the numbers. They have lost the majority. It's an excuse to get some more transfers done. We have full faith in the Supreme Court."
The Apex court on Thursday suggested that Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati should interact with the rebel Congress MLAs through a video link or the court can appoint an observer to allay the fear that the legislators are in captivity. The Speaker refused to accept the top court’s proposal.
The bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said, "We don't want to encourage horse-trading. That's why we want the floor test soon. This is why the court has been proactive in ordering the floor tests. The idea is to force the hands and make sure the floor test happens as soon as possible and prevent such things."
On Wednesday, the BJP complained to the Election Commission against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, accusing him of trying to influence the outcome of the Rajya Sabha polls due to be held on March 26. The BJP wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), that the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister is trying to contact the 16 rebel Congress MLAs holed up in a Bengaluru resort for the last 10 days.
High drama unfolded on Wednesday morning near the resort where Digvijay Singh staged a protest accusing the police of not allowing him to meet the legislators. Singh, who was briefly detained, accused the BJP of holding the MLAs captive and said he would go on a "hunger strike".A total of 22 Congress MLAs including six ministers had resigned last week shortly after Jyoritaditya Scindia quit the Congress putting the government on the brink of collapse.
After the Speaker accepted the resignation of the six ministers on Saturday, the party now has 108 legislators. The BJP has 107 seats in the House, which now has an effective strength of 222, with the majority mark being 112. The strength of the ruling party and the majority mark will further come down if the resignations of the Congress rebels are accepted.
(With agency inputs)