Even as it grapples with a political crisis in Rajasthan, the Congress received another jolt in Madhya Pradesh after Sumitra Devi Kasdekar, an MLA from Nepanagar in Burhanpur, resigned from the membership of the state assembly on Friday. Kasdekar is considered to be close to former AICC chief Arun Yadav.
Kasdekar later joined the BJP in the presence of MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Mahdya Pradesh: Sumitra Devi Kasdekar joins BJP, in the presence of State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at party office in Bhopal. https://t.co/fipErTB7O0 pic.twitter.com/9bovkKuYS9— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2020
The move came days after Bada Malhera MLA Pradyumn Singh Lodhi resigned as a lawmaker -- soon afterwards, he was given the post of chairman of Food and Civil Supplies Corporation by the Chouhan-led BJP government. Chouhan has so far accommodated 14 Congress rebels into his cabinet.
With this, a total of 24 Congress MLAs have resigned from the MP assembly since March when 22 of them, led by Jyotiraditya Scindia, jumped ship from the Congress and resigned from the assembly as well.
“The BJP is attempting to convert the country’s politics into a 'mandi' and neither the democracy nor the public will forgive this,” said Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta.
On being asked if there was any issue with the Congress as large numbers of MLAs are jumping ship, he said, “We have only one issue that we can’t offer such huge amounts and also do not wish to indulge in such tactics.”
BJP's Rajneesh Agrawal hit back at the Congress, describing it as a sinking ship. Suggesting that the opposition should introspect rather than level allegations against others, Agrawal said it would have been proper if the Congress had a word with the said MLA on why she decided to call it quits.
Following Lodi's exit, it was speculated that four to five MLAs could leave the Congress, leading to the party switching to damage control mode. Former Congress MLA Aidal Singh Kansana had said that several lawmakers were in his touch and could resign shortly.
PCC chief Kamal Nath had recently held a one-on-one meeting with Damoh MLA Rahul Singh and Banda MLA Tarwar Singh after reports of their resentment and plans to switch over. After the meeting, the two MLAs had reposed their faith in the party. Both of them were under the scanner as they are relatives and also have family relations with Lodhi.
The anger among Congress MLAs dates back to the days when Nath was in power when 30 first-time lawmakers complained that prominent leaders in the organisation and the state government were ignoring them and were not meeting them. Later, eight of these MLAs had switched to the BJP.
With this, it is expected that the by-polls will be held at 26 assembly constituencies, including two seats where Congress and BJP lawmakers died.