The 14-month-old Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh appears to be facing a major threat after the Congress on Wednesday alleged a “poaching” bid on MLAs of the ruling party and its allies by the opposition BJP. SP MLA Rajesh Shukla and BSP MLA Sanjeev Kushwaha, however, who are supporting the MP government on Thursday said that they had not received any offer from the BJP to switch sides and were still backing Kamal Nath.
"We are with the Kamal Nath government and we will continue to support it. No offer to switch sides was made to us. We are honest with Kamal Nath, if his government faces any threat it is from some Congress leaders and not us," Shukla said while speaking to ANI.
Kushwaha said, "I was not given any offer. Congress leaders know how to use flattery for their own gain. Their leaders are giving statements. If they have proof then they should present it. We will follow the directions of Mayawatiji." The BSP MLA also said that the Congress should offer a seat of Rajya Sabha to his party. Both MLAs also claimed that they had not been held captive at a Gurugram hotel.
High drama unfolded on Wednesday, a day that saw charges flying thick and fast between the Congress and the BJP, which denied any move to topple the Nath government and asked the ruling party to keep its own house in order. Senior Congress leaders accused the BJP of trying to bring down the party-led government, which is surviving on the support of over half a dozen independent, SP and BSP MLAs.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath asserted that there was no threat to his government. In a late-night political drama in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress claimed the BJP took eight MLAs to a hotel in Haryana as part of a conspiracy to topple the state government. Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh claimed that a senior BJP leader took a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator to Delhi in a chartered flight, alleging that poaching attempts were being made by the BJP on Congress MLAs.
In the 230-member Assembly, the Congress has 114 MLAs, followed by the BJP with 107. The simple majority mark is 116. The Congress-led state government has the support of four Independent MLAs, two Bahujan Samaj Party legislators and one of the Samajwadi Party. Two seats are currently vacant following the demise of a Congress and a BJP legislator.
The BJP denied the charge that it was trying to destabilize the Congress government. Madhya Pradesh BJP chief V.D. Sharma said the allegations were unfortunate. “The BJP has nothing to do with it. The BJP is making no such effort,” Sharma told reporters.
(With agency inputs)