As 22 MLAs from Madhya Pradesh considered loyal to former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia tendered their resignations on Tuesday, now the fate of these MLAs lies in the hands of State Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati. Marking one of the biggest political developments, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had served the Congress for 18 years, also resigned from the party early on Tuesday, stating that "it is time to move on."
The ball now lies in the court of Speaker NP Prajapati when it comes to deciding the leadership of the Madhya Pradesh government. According to the rules, the MLA who wishes to resign has to send their resignation to the Speaker. The resignation becomes official only when the Speaker accepts it. On the other hand, the power to disqualify an MLA also lies with the Speaker.
Comparing this situation with Karnataka the Speaker had ruled the rebel MLAs ineligible for the entire session. They then approached the Supreme Court and their right to contest the election was however restored but the top court upheld the Speaker's right to decide on the question of disqualification.
However, the important part in MP is to see whether the Congress MLAs who have tendered resignation wait for the Speaker to officially accept them before joining the BJP, or whether they will join the BJP straightaway. Because if they do so the Speaker can take active action against them under the Anti-Defection Law because they would have joined the party at a time when they were still Congress MLAs in assembly records. If their resignation gets accepted by Speaker and then they join the BJP, they will escape action under the Anti-Defection Law and will be free to contest fresh elections in bypolls that will be subsequently held.
As per, Article 190 of the Indian Constitution the rules speak on how an MLA can resign. The law says the resignation letter must be addressed to the Speaker and only the Speaker can accept it (not the Governor). It further adds that the article empowers the Speaker to make an independent inquiry about the resignation and has to satisfy him/herself that the resignation is voluntary and not under pressure.
"If from information received or otherwise and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, the Speaker is satisfied that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation," the Constitution says.
On Tuesday, Leader of Opposition in state assembly Gopal Bhargava, Narottam Mishra, and other BJP leaders has reached the residence of NP Prajapati and submitted the resignations of 19 Congress MLAs. But the speaker then said that he will take action as per the procedure of the Assembly without giving a confirmation about those resignations.