MP: Congress alleges poaching by BJP; CM Kamal Nath says govt has majority

The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh appears to have survived a poaching bid, with senior party leaders on Wednesday blaming the BJP for the alleged move and Chief Minister Kamal Nath asserting that there was no threat to his regime.
In a late-night political drama in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress claimed the BJP took eight MLAs to a hotel in Haryana as part of a conspiracy to topple the state government.
State minister Jitu Patwari said BJP leaders in Madhya Pradesh took the eight MLAs to a hotel in Haryana as part of a conspiracy to topple the Kamal Nath-led government. The BJP has denied the charge.
Nath said his government, which came to power in December 2018 by ousting the BJP, has an absolute majority and it has proved this in the state Assembly on several occasions.
He said the BJP “faced defeat every time” and this time also, its plans will prove to be like “Mungerilal’s dream”, referring to the famous fictional character from a television serial.
Nath also accused the BJP of plotting a conspiracy to come back to power in the state in an “undemocratic manner”.
Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia accused the BJP of orchestrating a move to “poach” the legislators of his party in Madhya Pradesh, but asserted that Congress government in the state was “completely secure and stable”.
Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh claimed that a senior BJP leader took a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator to Delhi in a chartered flight, alleging that poaching attempts were being made by the BJP on Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh.
“Senior BJP leaders including former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former ministers Narottam Mishra, Bhupendra Singh and Rampal Singh among others forcibly took eight MLAs to a hotel in Haryana as part of a conspiracy,” Patwari told PTI.
“The MLAs told us that they were forcibly confined by the BJP leaders,” he said.
According to the Congress sources, among the eight MLAs who were taken to Haryana, four are from the Congress, one is an independent and the rest are from BSP and SP.
They said BSP MLA Rambai was allegedly manhandled when Congress ministers reached the hotel to meet her.
Digvijaya Singh had on Monday alleged his party MLAs were being offered a “huge amount of money” by BJP leaders as part of its attempts to destabilise the Kamal Nath government.
Nath said the BJP “killed democracy and constitutional values” in many states, including Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana, and it is trying to replicate the same in Madhya Pradesh.
“We have full faith in all our MLAs, we have no doubt on their integrity, honesty. The truth of this black money earned from corruption and scams has been revealed and all BJP’s conspiracies will fall flat on its face only,” he added.
On the alleged poaching episode, Scindia said, “This is 100 per cent an attempt to poach (MLAs). We are united and our government is stable. We have counted the numbers and there is no threat to the government (in Madhya Pradesh).” The Congress general secretary and former Union minister told PTI that the incidents of late Tuesday night in Gurgaon near Delhi were orchestrated by the BJP.
In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 114 MLAs, followed by the BJP with 107. The simple majority mark is 116.
The Congress-led state government has the support of four Independent MLAs, two Bahujan Samaj Party legislators and one of the Samajwadi Party.
Two seats are currently vacant following the demise of a Congress and a BJP legislator.
The BJP denied the charge that it was trying to destabilise the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.
Terming the charge as “unfortunate”, Madhya Pradesh BJP chief V D Sharma said the allegations were unfortunate.
“The BJP has nothing to do with it. The BJP is making no such effort,” Sharma told reporters here, when asked about Congress’ allegation of attempts to destabilise the state government.
Sharma said this is the Congress’ “internal tussle” and the answer should come from Chief Minister Kamal Nath and senior party leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh.
The Congress is leveling allegations against the BJP as it is unable to manage its own MLAs, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.
“We have been saying this from the beginning that we are not involved in any such (poaching) activity, but if the Congress government falls on its own, they will be responsible for it,” Chouhan told reporters.
In Indore, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya denied his party’s role in the alleged horse-trading of MLAs supporting the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government.
He claimed that whatever is happening in the state’s politics shows the frustration of the ruling Congress MLAs and their anger towards Kamal Nath.
Meanwhile, a Vayapam scam whistle-blower released a purported video of a ‘sting operation’ involving senior BJP leader Narottam Mishra, and claimed that the former minister offered Rs 100 crore and ministerial posts to some Congress MLAs for toppling the Kamal Nath government.
While the authenticity of the video has not yet been verified independently, the BJP dubbed it fake and misleading, and said it has been released to tarnish Mishra’s image.
The Congress will issue a whip to its MLAs for the March 26 polls to three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh, a minister said.
“We are going to issue a whip and if any of our lawmakers violates it, his membership will be scrapped in just one hour,” state Legislative Affairs Minister Govind Singh told reporters here.