Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath held a meeting with his party legislators here on Sunday night, two days after one more MLA quit the grand old party and joined the ruling BJP, second one do so within a week and 24th since March.
Congress leaders said that Nath held talks with the party lawmakers to feel the pulse after two MLAs- Sumitra Devi Kasdekar and Pradymna Singh Lodhi- resigned from the state assembly in just six days and joined the BJP.
While Lodhi had resigned last Sunday, Kasdekar had done so on Friday. An MLA said on the condition of anonymity that during the meeting, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) decided to expose those BJP leaders who come to them with allurements.
Former state minister Tarun Bhanot said, "We will go hammer and tongs against the BJP in the by-elections to 26 constituencies two of which fell vacant due to the demise of sitting MLAs."
"Our party is going to raise issues of public concern to corner the ruling BJP. Ever since the saffron party came to power in March, lawlessness has been on the rise in MP," he added.
Another MLA said that four to five party legislators, including former state minister Lakhan Gangoria who is unwell, could not attend the meeting.
"The meeting was called to decide that we will take the BJP head-on in the by-elections. We are not at all scared of the people leaving us and joining the BJP for selfish gains," state Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta said.
In March, 22 Congress rebel MLAs, mostly loyalists of former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had resigned, reducing the Nath-led government to a minority. Following Nath's resignation on March 20, the BJP returned to power with Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the chief minister for the fourth term.
More than a dozen MLAs, out of the 22 who had resigned, got cabinet berths in the Chouhan government. With the exodus of 24 MLAs, the Congress is left with 90 MLAs in the MP assembly, whose existing strength is 204. The actual strength of the House is 230.