Bhopal: In a late-night move, Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon asked Assembly Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati to hold a floor test on Monday, days after 22 Congress MLAs resigned and pushed Kamal Nath’s 15-month-old government to the brink of collapse.
In his order, the Governor said: "The Madhya Pradesh Assembly's session will commence at 16 March, 2020, at 11 am, and after my address to the assembly, the first work to be conducted will be voting on trust vote.”
He added that the floor test will have to be completed on March 16 and the exercise cannot be "deferred, delayed or suspended".
The governor also directed that the trust vote be held by division of votes and the process be recorded on video by the Vidhan Sabha through independent persons.
Tandon also mentioned in the letter that six ministers were removed from the Cabinet on Kamal Nath's recommendations and their resignations accepted by the Speaker.
“You (Nath) have also mentioned in your letter dated March 13, 2020, that you are ready for the floor test. I have also received a letter from the main opposition BJP about these situations. They have also pointed that the state government is putting unnecessary pressure on the MLAs who have resigned and also on other legislators,” the letter read.
“Based on the above facts, prima facie, I believe that your government has lost the confidence of the House and it is in minority. This is a very serious issue and therefore as per the constitutional provisions and for protecting the democratic values, it is necessary that on March 16, soon after my address, you seek the trust vote in the Assembly,” it added.
Earlier on Saturday, in a letter to Union home minister Amit Shah, Nath urged him to ensure the "release" of 22 Congress legislators he alleged were being held "captive" in Bengaluru.
“Please use your power as Union home minister so that 22 Congress MLAs held captive can safely reach Madhya Pradesh and participate in the Assembly session beginning from March 16 without any allurement and fear," the four-page letter, shared by the Congress with the media, said.
Nath assured Shah in the letter that his Congress government in the state will provide excellent security to these 22 MLAs, if they are "released", referring to the demand of CRPF cover for the legislators.
The CM added that on March 3, BSP MLA Rambai and his family members were freed from the "captivity" of BJP leaders in Gurugram (Haryana). Later, three Congress MLAs and an Independent were taken to Bengaluru by BJP MLA Arvind Singh Bhadoriya as was evident from the list of passengers of the charter plane, he alleged.
On March 9, 19 MLAs were taken to Bengaluru by BJP leaders by three charter planes, Nath claimed. Their "personal communication facilities" (mobile phones) were taken away and they were held captive and the Karnataka BJP is bearing the expenses of their stay in Bengaluru, he alleged.
"This is an unprecedented situation" because on the one hand the BJP is holding them captive and on the other hand it is demanding a floor test, Nath said, adding that a trust vote has no meaning in this situation.
“I am concerned about the safety of these MLAs and in my opinion, floor test in assembly is meaningless as 22 MLAs are being held captive,” Nath wrote.
Twenty-two Madhya Pradesh MLAs, supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia who left the Congress to join the BJP, have resigned, reducing the Kamal Nath-led government to minority in the Assembly.