By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-03-09 21:02:27
The latest developments in Madhya Pradesh prove that chief minister Kamal Nath and most observers (including the Special Correspondent of this webzine) had misread the mood of the Congress legislators in the state. At last count, more than 19 Congress MLAs, including several ministers, have gone to Bengaluru today on chartered flights and are staying at a hotel in the Karnataka capital. The development took place even as Kamal Nath was discussing the political situation in the state with Sonia Gandhi, the interim president of the Congress party.
Nath rushed back to Bhopal cutting short his Delhi visit. But by then the matter had slipped out of his hands. The MLAs had already left and the BJP was talking about bringing in a no-confidence motion against the Congress government. When 9 MLAs had shown signs of rebellion last week, Nath had somehow managed to bring them back. But this time the numbers are bigger and going by the display of open rebellion and the planned way they fooled the seasoned chief minister, it seems that the government is in serious trouble.
Kamal Nath had thought that the MLAs, perhaps instigated by Jyotiraditya Scindia (with whom Nath is having a running feud over several issues including farm loan waiver, the candidate for state Congress president and the Rajya Sabha nominations), would support him as he had the support of the high command and as chief minister, was better placed to offer them deals that Scindia could not. But he should have known that support for Scindia runs very deep in the state Congress. Then, there is always the hovering presence of the BJP which is yearning to topple his government.
This time it seems the noose has tightened around the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP needs just 5 MLAs to reduce the Nath government to a minority. But with Scindia throwing in his weight, it might get many more than that number. It will be difficult for the wily Nath to save his government this time. It has been reported that Scindia will meet PM Modi at 9.30 pm today. Given the cold shoulder he has been receiving from the party high command, Scindia might even consider joining the BJP with his supporters. If that happens, it will be check and mate for the Kamal Nath government.