The high-voltage political drama in Madhya Pradesh (MP) has plateaued for the time being, with six of the 10 MLAs supporting the Indian National Congress (INC) government returning to Bhopal. The whereabouts of the remaining four are hanging in the balance.
Despite this, there will be all but some speculations over MP politics till the elections on 26 March for the vacant seats of Rajya Sabha. All the drama of MLAs running to hotels and resorts is not about an effort to change the MP government.
Three of the 11 Rajya Sabha seats in MP will be vacant due to the end of the terms of Digvijaya Singh of the INC and Satyanarayan Jatia and Prabhat Jha of the BJP.
Both BJP and INC will easily win one seat each, as the first preference votes of 58 MLAs are required to win a Rajya Sabha seat, given the current MP assembly composition. The real fight is to get a second seat in both parties and there is a danger of cross-voting that both parties face.
Currently, two seats are vacant in the 230-member MP assembly. Of the 228 MLAs, the INC has 114, BJP 107, BSP 2, SP one and 4 independents. The INC has the support of 121 MLAs including BSP, SP and independents. With this maths, the INC is looking well poised for the third Rajya Sabha seat, but the way the political battle between it and the BJP broke out just before the elections, it is clear that this equation will not be easy.
After securing the first seat, the INC will have 56 votes. Apart from this, an independent MLA is a minister in the government. He is sure to lend his support and thus the INC gets 57 MLAs for the second seat. If this equation holds, it will need only one legislator more.
The BJP, assured of victory in one seat, will have 49 votes for the second seat, which means it will have to juggle at least nine votes. For this, it is eyeing INC and independent MLAs.
The factionalism of MP INC is giving more strength to the BJP. Singh’s tenure in Rajya Sabha is coming to an end and Jyotiraditya Scindia is looking for a way to reach Sansad after losing the Guna election. There are more claimants but, considering the claim of these two veterans, they are avoiding speaking openly.
Kamal Nath and the central leadership of the INC do not want to make both Rajya Sabha candidates. Only one out of Singh and Scindia can get the ticket. Or neither will and yet it would be a struggle for the third RS seat from MP.
The BJP wants to use this power struggle within the INC to its advantage. Most of the MLAs who reached out to the INC MLAs in Manesar are considered supporters of Scindia, thus lending credence to the theory that the ‘horse-trading’ is all about the Rajya Sabha election.
SP MLAs Rajesh Shukla and Aindal Singh Kansana, Ranveer Jatav and Kamlesh Jatav all returned to Bhopal yesterday but are not hiding their displeasure with the government.
BSP’s Rambai and Sanjeev Kushwaha may have returned but are unhappy over not getting ministerial ports. Their resentment will bloom at any moment.
The remaining four MLAs — Bisahu Lala Singh, Raghuraj Kansana, Hardeep Singh Dung and Surendra Singh Shera — are not showing their cards yet. Their attitude will play an important role in influencing the result of the Rajya Sabha election.