BJP gets Karnataka reply in MP
Two BJP legislators backed the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh during voting on a bill in the Assembly on Wednesday.
The development came minutes after leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava boasted in the Assembly that his party could topple the Kamal Nath government in “24 hours” if the BJP central leadership so wished after the fall of the Janata Dal Secular-Congress government in Karnataka.
BJP legislators Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol voted in favour of the Criminal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill. The Congress claimed that more BJP MLAs could join the party.
“Several BJP MLAs are in touch with chief minister Kamal Nath. They are sitting on the fence. They may cross over to Congress by the next Assembly session,” claimed public relations minister P.C. Sharma.
During the division of votes on the bill, 122 MLAs voted in favour of the Congress government. In the 230-member house, the ruling Congress has the support of 121 MLAs, including Speaker N.P. Prajapati, who did not take part in the voting. Besides the 120 MLAs of the Congress and its allies, two BJP MLAs also supported the bill.
The Congress has 114 MLAs — two short of the simple majority mark of 116 — and its government is supported by four Independent legislators, two MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one from the Samajwadi Party. The BJP had won 109 seats and one of its MLAs resigned after getting elected to the Lok Sabha.
Tripathi, an MLA from Maihar, and Beohari legislator Kol said they extended support to the seven-month old Nath government because they wanted development in their constituencies. This was their “ghar wapsi” (homecoming), they added.
According to Congress sources, Nath sent feelers to the two BJP lawmakers through Arif Masood, the Congress MLA from Bhopal Central, about a month ago. Tripathi reportedly did not get along with BJP MP from Satna, Ganesh Singh. Besides, he had been seeking to make Maihar, a tehsil of Satna, a separate district.
Tripathi, who had a long stint in the Congress before joining the BJP, was once in the Samajwadi Party and headed its Madhya Pradesh unit. As a Youth Congress leader Kol had sought the party ticket from Beohari for the last year’s Assembly polls.
Miffed over the denial of ticket, he joined the BJP and won from Beohari. Kol’s father Juglal Kol is a senior Congress leader.
In May, shortly after the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls by winning 28 of the 29 seats in the state, Opposition leader Bhargava had written to the governor requesting a special session of the Assembly for a floor test.
On Wednesday, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia welcomed the voting decision of Tripathi and Kol. The two have “shown a mirror to the BJP leaders, who were repeatedly terming the state’s regime a minority government”, Scindia tweeted.
An elated Kamal Nath said his government had proved its majority as the bill sponsored by it got through with the support of two BJP MLAs.
“In the morning, Bhargava said they will pull down the government in 24 hours if the BJP central leadership wishes so,” Nath told reporters. “Now with the Congress getting a majority on the floor, the BJP has got a befitting reply.”