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More Trouble for Congress Post May 23? MP Crisis May Strengthen Bid to Topple Other State Govts

This is not the first time that the Congress government is facing hardship. Rajasthan and Karnataka continue to be their trouble areas, and attempts to topple the governments may gain vigour if the party fails to make an impact on May 23.


Updated:May 21, 2019, 8:08 AM IST
More Trouble for Congress Post May 23? MP Crisis May Strengthen Bid to Topple Other State Govts
Congress president Rahul Gandhi along with party leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath (File photo)

New Delhi: The Lok Sabka election results may add a jolt to the Congress party, which is already facing a tough time keeping its flock together in the state. Trouble has already started brewing for the party with Madhya Pradesh BJP demanding a floor test.

This is not the first time that the Congress-led government is facing hardship. Rajasthan and Karnataka continue to be their trouble areas, and attempts to topple the governments may gain vigour if the party fails to leave a mark this general elections.

BSP supremo Mayawati had in January threatened to pull out of the grand old party-led governments in MP and Rajasthan over arrests of "innocent" people during Bharat Bandh. She had also criticised the Ashok Gehlot government recently over the gang-rape of a Dalit woman.

Mayawati accused the government of "suppressing the incident till the end of election in Rajasthan to preserve their political benefits and threatened the family of the survivor to keep quiet about it".

The opposition BJP had also latched onto the issue to attack the Congress, and may in future use the "failures" to shake up the government. Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted on Tuesday, questioning what was wrong with Rajasthan. She said that one hand people minor girls were being raped, and on the other hand, anti-social elements were ruining the law and order situation in the state.

The Congress's marriage with Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) is already on the line with leaders accusing BJP of indulging in 'Operation Lotus'. Karnataka Forest Minister Satish Jarkiholi had recently alleged that the BJP would try to destabilise the coalition government in the state if it repeats its 2014 Lok Sabha polls performance.

Though the two allies jointly fought the parliamentary elections fielding common candidates in all the 28 seats — the Congress on 21 and the JD-S on 7 seats — the Lok Sabha results is set to determine their government's fate.

In the 225-member state Assembly, including one nominated, the BJP has 104 seats, Congress 77, JD-S 37, BSP and the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) 1 each. There is one independent and a Speaker as well as two vacant seats. "If the Congress fails to retain the two Assembly seats in the bypoll, the coalition government's survival depends on the party reining in its rebels, as Kumaraswamy would have just one more seat (77+37=114) than the halfway mark (113) for a simple majority in the lower house," said an analyst.

An adverse verdict in the Lok Sabha polls may lead to a blame game with the two allies already locked in a war of words over the post of the chief minister.

Political tension rose in Madhya Pradesh last month after Lokendra Singh Rajput, a candidate of Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, quit and joined the Congress, saying he supports Jyotiraditya Scindia. Mayawati was furious and tweeted that she would reconsider her support to the Kamal Nath government. Nath, however, indicated the matter was resolved, saying, Mayawati's party has the same goal as us... that is the exit of the BJP".

The party was, however, in for a fresh trouble on Monday when the state BJP wrote to Governor Anandiben Patel, asking her to convene a session of the state Assembly so that the Congress government could prove its majority in the House.

In the Assembly polls last year, the Congress won 114 of the state's 230 seats, two short of the majority mark of 116. The Bahujan Samaj Party, having two MLAs, and Samajwadi Party, which has one, are supporting the Congress. There are four Independents. The BJP won 109 seats.

In his letter to the governor, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Gopal Bhargava stated that the party wanted a discussion on important issues like the farm loan waiver and (to) test the government's strength.

The development came a day after majority of exit polls predicted return of the BJP-led NDA to power for the second term, making the Congress jittery after the 2014 debacle when it suffered its worst defeat in 129 years.

Most exit polls have forecast another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.

The predictions have made opposition turn a bit cautious. They have decided not to hold any formal meetings, even as BJP-led NDA is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

Sources said the opposition strategy was to procure letters of support from various parties and in case of a hung verdict, to present the same before the president to stake claim to form the government.

| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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