Bhopal: While the Supreme Court has ordered a floor test in the Madhya Pradesh assembly on Friday, such an exercise will take place for the first time in the House after the Kamal Nath government came to power sans a clear majority.
In December 2018, the Congress took the reins of the state with 114 seats, two short of the majority figure of 116. However, with the support of four independents, two BSP and one SP MLA, the state government managed to cling on for over a year.
However, as 22 rebel legislators have deserted the grand old party recently, its fate is set to be decided on Friday.
Chief minister Kamal Nath has repeatedly expressed confidence that he has the numbers. "We have proved our majority three times in the last few months," he told the media on Thursday.
The first virtual floor test was witnessed soon after the Kamal Nath government assumed office and decided to elect the speaker. Against the set tradition of the Opposition not fielding a candidate against the ruling party nominee, the BJP proposed the name of Vijay Shah.
The Congress led by Kamal Nath turned it into a test of strength and ruling party pick NP Prajapati was elected the speaker while securing 120 votes on January 9, 2019.
Another such tussle was witnessed a day after as the Congress, stung by the BJP’s move of fighting for the speaker’s post, did not offer the opposition the post of deputy speaker and fielded Hina Kawre for the position, while the saffron party chose Jagdish Dewda.
Amid pandemonium, speaker NP Prajapati called for a voice vote and announced Kawre elected for the post.
The third test of strength was the most dramatic of all as two BJP MLAs voted in favour of the Kamal Nath government as the saffron party legislators had boycotted the voting despite being present in the House.
During the monsoon session, BJP MLAs Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol, both former Congressmen, had voted in favour of an amendment proposed by the Kamal Nath government in CrPC Act. So, the Congress, besides its own votes, secured two extra votes and ended up with 122 votes in the House.
It was interesting that the BJP, which had not issued any whip for the day, wasn’t willing for a division of votes, but BSP’s Sanjiv Singh Kushwah, an ally of the state government, had pressed for it.
With the critical numbers game in the assembly and unavailability of a whip, the BJP had spared the two MLAs from any action.
However, with the floor test announced, both the Congress and BJP are stacking their numbers cautiously.
As the BJP has already paraded its 106 MLAs before the governor a couple of days ago, the Congress strength is reduced to 92 after resignations of all 22 MLAs were accepted. Adding the allies, it can barely reach 99.