6 of 8 ‘poached’ MLAs return to support Nath

Hours after Congress leaders accused the BJP of confining eight of its MLAs, including allies, to a hotel in Haryana as part of a conspiracy to topple the 14-month-old Madhya Pradesh Government, six of them returned to Bhopal on Wednesday evening.

Six legislators of the Congress, the BSP, the SP and independents accompanied by two Ministers, soon after reaching Bhopal, reached Chief Minister’s residence in the evening. However, Congress leaders claimed that four of their MLAs are still missing.

The Congress has alleged the BJP is making attempts to poach its MLAs in a bid to topple of the Kamal Nath Government, a charge denied by the Opposition party.

The MLAs were allegedly taken to a hotel in Manesar (Haryana), where State Ministers Jaivardhan Singh and Jitu Patwari accompanied by senior party leader Digvijay Singh had reached after midnight on Wednesday. They were not allowed to meet the legislators, but they managed to meet BSP MLA Rambai and took her with them to Bhopal.

Those who returned to Bhopal are: Congress’ Aidal Singh Kansana, Kamlesh Jatav and Ranveer Jatav, BSP’s Janjeev Kushwaha and Rambai, while SP’s Rajesh Shukla.

Those still missing are Surendra Shera, Bisahulal Singh, Hardeep Singh Dang and Raghuraj Kansana.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath told PTI, “Things are under control… The MLAs will come back”.

Interestingly, the Scindia camp Ministers did not reach CM House. However one of them, Pradyumn Singh Tomar speaking to the media extended support to the Kamal Nath Government but did not reply as why certain Ministers were not seen at CM House on their return to the State Capital. Scindia earlier had pleaded ignorance about the horse-trading episode as media had questioned him on this in Gwalior.

“Whistleblower” of the horse-trading controversy, senior Congress leaders Digvijay appeared before the media on Wednesday and said there is no threat to the Kamal Nath Government.

He again mounted charges on former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan saying Chouhan had hired two chartered planes to ferry MLAs out of Madhya Pradesh. According to Digvijay, four MLAs were taken to Bengaluru.

“The BJP is apprehensive of anti-mafia action initiated by the Nath Government and is engaging in such dirty tactics,” Congress MP media cell in-charge Shobha Oza said.

“We dare the BJP to have a floor test,” she added. She claimed that eight MLAs were taken out of the State and four have returned while remaining are still with the BJP. However, as the matter snowballed into major political controversy nationally, the BJP leaders switched to defensive.

BJP State head VD Sharma was the first to rebut horse trading charges saying the party wasn’t part of any such thing. “It’s their internal conflicts and leaders like Kamal Nath, Digvijay and Scindia should offer answers on this.”