Congress hits back in MP, lures away two BJP MLAs

Bhopal: Two BJP MLAs on Wednesday cross-voted in favour of the ruling Congress to help pass a Bill on prevention of mob lynching in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The House was adjourned sine die after the bill was passed.

Embarrassed Leader of Opposition, Gopal Bhargava said he will discuss the issue later. Wednesday’s developments bring to an end the speculation over the survival of Kamal Nath government, especially in the wake of developments in Karnataka.

The two BJP legislators – Sharad Kol of Beohari and Narayan Tripathi of Maihar – are reportedly joining the Congress. Tripathi, who has been elected from Maihar several times, is a known party-hopper and has been in the Samajwadi Party and the Congress earlier. Kol of Shahdol has also been in the Congress earlier.

A triumphant Congress later expressed hope there will more arrivals from the BJP. “Some more BJP MLAs are in touch with (Chief Minister) Kamal Nath. Let us wait and watch,” said a party leader.

Kamal Nath had earlier challenged the Opposition to try and buy out the ruling party legislators in this state. Responding to Bhargava’s boast: “We can bring down the government the moment the No 1 and 2 leaders give a go ahead”, he retorted: “Your No 1 and 2 have the wisdom not to give you the go ahead.”

“Everyone knows about the skills of your No 1 and No 2. Our government will complete five years. If you are so sure, why don’t you bring a no-confidence motion right away?”

“Instead of this everyday clamour of keeping the minority government at its mercy, the opposition should hold a no-trust vote right away. We are prepared for it, here and now. Is the Opposition ready?” he asked.

While discussing a calling attention motion on Medicity brought by Congress members Rajyvardhan Singh Dattigaon, Kunal Chaudhary and Vinay Saxena, Kamal Nath said that the BJP has been making such claims right from the day his government took office. “Let me make it clear the Opposition’s claims are bogus and our MLAs are not for sale.”

Amid thumping of desks by the ruling coalition members, he said that this government is here for five years and Madhya Pradesh will create history by setting up new benchmarks of development bringing prosperity to every class.

Making first person remarks for a long time, Kamal Nath said that that he had maintained certain probity in his political life and tried to set an example. He said no one has raised questions or made any allegations in his 45 years of political life.

“I have been an MP for 40 years and was a Minister of several departments at the Centre. I have always tried to keep my political life clean. As a minister, I have always protected the interests of people of Madhya Pradesh.”

The Chief Minister said that as Union Commerce Minister, he took care of the interests of farmers in the WTO and did not compromise.

As Minister of Urban Development, he had given Madhya Pradesh the highest amount of money for the development of the cities, he said. “It is a record. When I was the Environment Minister, I made available the funds for the development of the Bhopal lake and benefitted the state by changing the transport rules while being Transport Minister. It was appreciated even by the then Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.”

“When I was questioned about the decision to sell the airplane of the state government, I felt great pain and sorrow,” he said, adding that the decision was not his.

“It was the government of Shivraj Singh. His cabinet had decided it. We just implemented that decision.”

Kamal Nath said that Chouhan has this habit of making allegations but he was not used to hear such accusations. “I haven’t done anything to be questioned by people. It hurts if someone blames me needlessly.

“I do not resort to television and media politics. I do not have the passion to show face and print photos. If any section of the state is in crisis, then I try to resolve the issue immediately and bring relief. This, I believe, is true sensitivity to people.”