Bhopal: The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was brought down by the BJP’s central leaders — an audio clip in which Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is allegedly heard making this claim is being widely circulated in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP has so far vehemently denied Congress allegations of complicity in the collapse of the Kamal Nath government in March. Mr Chouhan — the three-time BJP Chief Minister who lost his post after the Congress won the 2018 assembly elections — has been among the loudest in his denials.
The Chief Minister is purportedly heard saying in Hindi in the audio clip, “It was the central leadership which had decided that the government will be dislodged, else it would ruin everything”.
“Tell me, was it possible to dislodge the government without Jyotiraditya Scindia and Tulsi Silawat? There was no other way,” he is heard telling party workers at Indore’s Sanwer. He visited the area yesterday.
NDTV cannot vouch for the authenticity of the audio clip.
The BJP or the Chief Minister have not reacted so far.
The “Tulsi Silawat” referred to in the audio clip is a Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist and former Congress minister who joined the BJP along with him.
It was a stunning switch by longtime Congress leader Mr Scindia — whose father Madhavrao Scindia was close to Indira and Rajiv Gandhi — that brought the government of Kamal Nath tumbling down.
In the days preceding the Congress government’s crash, Mr Scindia quit his party of 19 years and joined the BJP. Along with Mr Scindia, 22 of his loyalists walked out of the Congress and joined the BJP, leaving the Congress — which had a wafer thin majority in assembly to start with – in a minority.
On March 20, just before a floor test in the assembly, Kamal Nath stepped down, bringing an end to the 15-month-old Congress government in the state.
Responding to Mr Chouhan’s comment, Congress leader Narendra Saluja said: “Shivraj Singh Chouhan has himself spoken the truth, that the BJP was instrumental in pulling the Kamal Nath government with the help of Jyotiraditya Scindia and loyalists. Chouhan’s statement in Indore has also unraveled another truth that it was BJP’s central leadership which had decided to dislodge the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh”.
The 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly currently has 206 members, of which 107 are from the BJP. The Congress has 92 members. Four independents, one Samajwadi Party and three BSP MLAs are supporting the BJP government. The present majority mark is 104.
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates of the by-elections in 22 seats left vacant by defections and two more because of the death of MLAs.