The Congress on Friday said democracy has been defeated by "hotel diplomacy" in Madhya Pradesh after Kamal Nath resigned as the state chief minister. Over 15 months after taking over, Kamal Nath resigned from the top post. The resignation came a day after the Supreme Court ordered the state assembly Speaker to conduct a floor test by 5 pm on Friday.
"Today democracy (was) defeated by hotel diplomacy," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Twitter. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the state has witnessed the blatant killing of democracy in broad daylight. "What we have witnessed today in Madhya Pradesh is a blatant killing of democracy in broad daylight. Dismantling the democratically elected government for the lust of power has become a habit for the BJP," he said on Twitter.
Congress general secretary Avinash Pande said, "CM Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath resigns, and along with it dies the concept of democracy and elections." Calling it a 'victory of truth', former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan hailed the failure of the Congress government.
Names of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Narottam Mishra, a former minister in the state, have also been been doing the rounds as BJP's probable choice for the chief minister's post but many in the party believe that Chouhan remains the favourite.
The BJP legislative party meeting is likely to be held soon to elect its new leader. The top party brass has so far given no clear indication about its choice for the job. Chouhan's popular connect, easy going manner, his good equation with the RSS combined with the fact that the party under him pulled more votes than the Congress in the 2018 assembly polls despite falling behind it in the seat tally makes him the best bet for the job, party sources said.
Before submitting his resignation, Nath addressed a press conference, where he announced his resignation. During the press conference, he also accused the BJP of killing the democratic values by conspiring against his government and blamed former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia for the current political crisis in the state.
"I have decided to submit my resignation to the governor. But I will continue to work for the welfare of the people...I did the politics of value," he said. "I took over as the CM on December 17, 2018. During my political career, I have always believed in development. I was given an opportunity for a period of five years to give a new identity to the state," he said.
"The BJP didn't like the people-centric works carried out by my government during our 15-month rule, so they kept conspiring against me," he said. Nath alleged that 22 Congress MLAs were held captive in Bengaluru by the BJP, which has been witnessed by the entire country. "BJP killed the democratic values by conspiring," he said. "I have proved my majority on the floor of the House several times during the past 15 years...but the BJP betrayed the people of the state by destabilising the government," he said.
Nath mentioned the works carried out by his government during the last 15 months, including the farm loan waiver and development of cow shelters. "BJP betrayed the farmers by conspiring against me," he said, claiming that 400 promises made in the election manifesto were completed in 15 months. He said the BJP was afraid of the success of his government. Blaming Scindia for the ongoing political crisis in the state, Nath said, "BJP colluded with Maharaj (Scindia) for killing democracy and my government."
Earlier this month, Scindia quit the Congress and joined the BJP. Twenty-two Congress MLAs, who were loyal to him, had rebelled and resigned. On Thursday, the Supreme Court had ordered the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker to conduct a floor test by 5 pm. After Speaker NP Prajapati accepted the resignation of 16 rebel Congress legislators on Thursday night, the Kamal Nath government was reduced to a minority with 92-MLAs in the 230-members house. The resignations of six others had been accepted earlier.
Similarly, the strength of the house also reduced to 222, trimming down the majority mark to 104. In this situation, the BJP has the majority mark with 107. On Friday morning, the speaker said that he has accepted the resignation of BJP MLA Sharad Kol (Beohari). But, Kol said that he had applied for withdrawing the resignation submitted earlier. This has further reduced the number of BJP MLAs to 106, but well above the majority mark in current strength.
While the BSP has two members in the House, the SP has one. Besides, there are four Independents. All these MLAs BSP, SP, and independents- had extended their support to the Congress during the formation of the government. In the renewed situation, these MLAs are yet to clarify their stand.