Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh and Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka, are far away from each other and, to be precise, 1,441.9 km away by road on the national highway. Apart from the vast distance, they are paradoxically divergent in geography, climate, culture and lifestyle. Yet, when it comes to practising present-day politics, the so-called distance just fizzles out to your astonishment.
The Kamal Nath-led Indian National Congress (INC) government in Madhya Pradesh is now at the brink of a disaster, thanks to the 20+ ruling party legislators, including six sitting ministers, who have resolved to bid adieu to the national party on whose tickets they were elected to the state assembly.
This change of heart within the ruling party camp for any valid reason whatsoever is no strange phenomenon if you recollect similar developments in Karnataka of a few months ago.
Then, 14 INC and three Janata Dal-Secular(JD-S) Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs’), including a few ministers, had dashed off to Mumbai in a chartered flight. They were initially holed up at a luxury hotel there before changing places.
DK Shivakumar, then a powerful power minister in the HD Kumaraswamy-led JDS-INC coalition government, gave a try to meet the dissident colleagues at the hotel. In fact, he had booked a suite in the same hotel before boarding a flight to Mumbai.
All said and done, Shivakumar was restrained from meeting his party and JDS colleagues in the hotel despite having made a booking in the same hotel. He wasn’t prepared to take it lying down. He made all possible efforts to gatecrash with the help of other local party colleagues and workers.
No, nothing came to his rescue. Shivakumar had planned to have a wash before having his breakfast in the hotel. Since he was physically prevented from entering — forget having a wash — he had to be content with munching whatever came on the way and arranged by local party workers.
Shivakumar stayed back at the entrance of the hotel hoping to get an opportunity to meet his legislator colleagues after some while. But nothing of that sort happened and, instead, he was sent back from the Mumbai airport by the then Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, back to Bengaluru meeting none of whom he had intended to.
By and large, it is the same story with the Madhya Pradesh INC MLAs. They have been housed in three villas of a private luxury resort and none of the local INC leaders is allowed to visit them. On the other hand, the disgruntled Madhya Pradesh MLAs have complained to the state inspector general of police and director-general of police to provide them with security for their safe stay and travel in the state.
They have claimed further that they are on some urgent work here and are on their own. However, they have refused to divulge the important work they have been forced to camp here.
More or less, the present political strategy of Madhya Pradesh BJP is nothing else but a replica of their counterparts in Karnataka while dislodging the JDS-INC coalition government.
Perhaps the makers of the Anti Defection Law never envisaged such wholesale defections or desertions. Nor did they formulate any rule or regulation to the power-craving legislators having a fancy of quitting the party from which they got elected and contest from the hitherto rival party ticket?