In fresh trouble for MP CM Kamal Nath, 17 Congress MLAs fly to Bengaluru2 min read . Updated: 09 Mar 2020, 11:33 PM IST
- The infighting within the Congress unit in Madhya Pradesh is now threatening to dislodge the state govt
- Move comes ahead of budget session, wherein Nath will need the numbers to pass the budget
The alliance government in Madhya Pradesh (MP) led by chief minister Kamal Nath plunged into another crisis on Monday when 17 Congress MLAs flew down to Bengaluru without informing the senior leadership, in a clear indication of revolt against the leadership of Nath.
The infighting within the Congress unit of MP is threatening to dislodge the state government.
The move comes just ahead of the state budget session, wherein Nath will need the numbers to pass the budget proposals. Besides, a majority in the assembly is also required in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha election on 26 March, considering that MP will send three lawmakers to the Upper House.
Nath has been planning a cabinet expansion and reshuffle in portfolios to win over dissenting MLAs, but the move is not yielding results just yet. Nath also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, discussing his plans for a cabinet reshuffle to quell a series of internal squabbles and dissent from allies, said at least two senior Congress leaders from Bhopal.
“The reshuffle was necessitated for a while. Right now, there is a view that a section of cabinet ministers may be removed and others may be appointed in their place. Some disgruntled MLAs, who are capable, could also be inducted as ministers," a senior Congress leader said. The 15-month-old government has a wafer thin majority in the assembly and depends on the support of its allies, including independents.
“There are two problems in the MP Congress. The first is that senior leaders do not get along with each other and there is infighting. The second is that a section of MLAs have lost faith in Kamal Nath," the leader said, adding that the party is of the view that as more minsters can be accommodated at this stage this is the right time to do so. The current MP cabinet has 28 members, apart from Nath. This will allow the government to induct six more ministers.
Last week, the Congress had plunged into a crisis when 10 MLAs travelled to Delhi before being shifted to Bengaluru. While eight state legislatures returned on Sunday, two others spoke publicly about being upset over not getting a cabinet berth and expected that the CM would make the necessary changes soon.
The Congress has 114 MLAs in the 230-member MP legislative Assembly and draws support from four independents, two Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs, and one MLA from the Samajwadi Party (SP). The BJP is the largest opposition party with 107 legislators. Two seats are vacant.
“The changes in the Congress’ state organization has also been awaited for more than a year now. The party is likely to get a new state unit chief soon, along with new appointments of party leaders. We are hopeful that the appointments in the MP Congress unit and cabinet will quell internal dissent and factional troubles," said another state Congress leader.
The senior leadership of the Congress is worried about the stability of the government, as well as the possibility of cross-voting during the elections to the Upper House of Parliament.
According to party functionary in Bengaluru, 19 MP legislators had arrived in the city. One among them, Surendra Singh, who was there till a few days ago, has returned to Bhopal. Media reports said the legislators were holed up in three different locations and will be shifted to a place in the outskirts of Bengaluru later on Monday or early Tuesday.
*Sharan Poovanna from Bengaluru & PTI contributed to the story.