Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned today hours before the Supreme Court-ordered floor test in the state assembly. Addressing a press conference ahead of the floor test slated for 2 PM, Kamal Nath said that the BJP had held the INC MLAs captive. He accused the party ruling at the Centre of “murdering democracy”.
With this development, the outgoing chief minister’s claim yesterday that he was secretly talking to the rebel MLAs turned out to be a bluff. All the arguments of the INC’s lawyers at the Supreme Court proved infructuous.
After the rebuke of the Supreme Court on Thursday, Speaker of Madhya Pradesh Assembly NP Prajapati had accepted the resignation of the rebel MLAs. Now on Friday, he held a press conference, saying he had to accept the resignations dukhi man se (with a heavy heart), as he had no other option.
The assembly speaker said it was necessary to follow the powers given to him by the constitution. “It’s an irony in our democracy that we forget the work mandated by the people once we are in power and think about ourselves,” he said.
About accepting the resignation of the MLAs, the speaker said that when the matter reached the Supreme Court, “I had no way but to accept the resignation”.
Referring to the allegations made by the BJP, the speaker said, “I would not comment on anyone’s allegations.” Today the proceedings of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly will start at 2 PM and the house will run on the order of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday ordered the Kamal Nath government to conduct the floor test immediately.
Last week, the speaker had adjourned the house till 26 March without accepting the resignations of 16 MLAs. After this, the BJP — represented by former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and supported by nine of the 16 rebel MLAs — moved the Supreme Court and demanded a floor test immediately.
The Supreme Court reprimanded the speaker on yesterday and asked the reason for not accepting the resignations of the 16 rebel MLAs. Late in the night, the speaker accepted all the resignations, after which the Kamal Nath government became a minority government. Now it has only 99 MLAs while the BJP enjoys the support of more than the majority mark of 104.