NEW DELHI :
A day after Shivraj Singh Chouhan took oath as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for the fourth time, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday unanimously won a trust vote that was boycotted by the Congress.
Two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and one MLA of the Samajwadi Party (SP) also voted in favour of the Chouhan-led government.
“We have to defeat the spread of coronavirus together and my social media account is available for people to get in touch with me for any assistance. We have to collectively defeat the threat of coronavirus, which is affecting the country and Madhya Pradesh," tweeted Chouhan on Tuesday.
The support of the BSP and SP legislators for the BJP government is a major setback for the Congress as the three MLAs had played a crucial role in helping the Congress secure a majority in the Assembly in December 2018, and supported the Congress government under former chief minister Kamal Nath.
“I thank Kamal Nath for coming to my residence. We will work together to defeat the threat of Coronavirus and also work for the development of Madhya Pradesh," tweeted Chouhan.
The government under Nath lost its majority in the House after 22 MLAs of the Congress resigned in support of Jyotiraditya M. Scindia who left the party earlier this month.
The resignations brought out the infighting within the Congress in the state, which led to the collapse of its government in Madhya Pradesh and enabled the BJP to form the government.
The Congress won 114 seats in the Assembly polls in December 2018 and the state government functioned for 15 months under Nath’s leadership.
The Congress had the support of the BSP and SP MLAs, as well as four independent MLAs. However, the BJP with its 106 MLAs and the BSP and SP MLAs is now in a comfortable position in the Assembly.
The BJP will need to win most of the seats to ensure stability for its government. At present the party has the support of at least 110 MLAs and needs to win at least six of these seats for a simple majority.
“We are confident that the BJP will be able to win most of the 22 seats where bypolls will be witnessed soon. At least 15 of the 22 MLAs are from the Gwalior-Chambal region, which is the main support base of Jyotiraditya M. Scindia. We are confident that with the support of Scindia and the organisational network of the BJP, we will be able to win a majority of the 22 seats," said a senior BJP leader based in Bhopal.
The loss of Madhya Pradesh is also significant for the Congress because it was only last year in July that the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), government in Karnataka lost the support of its MLAs and then chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) had to resign.
“On one side there is decision on lockdown, security measures in the view of Corona outbreak while on the other hand the Shivraj government is breaking those very rules by deciding to call a session of legislative assembly. This is beyond understanding what the hurry given there was enough time to prove their trust vote," Nath wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.