The drama around Madhya Pradesh politics ended on Friday with Chief Minister Kamal Nath submitting his resignation to the Governor. Nath had taken the oath of office on December 17, 2018.
Against BJP’s 15 year rule, Kamal Nath led Congress government which survived for 15-months.
On December 11, 2018, Congress emerged as the single largest party, winning 114 seats in 230 member Madhya Pradesh assembly. As Congress backed Kamal Nath for the position of the Chief Minister, soon differences within the party started surfacing. Jyotiraditya Scindia, who wanted the party to back him for the CM’s post, lost the Lok Sabha election from Guna in 2019.
Scindia sought to take over as the President of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, but Congress leadership backed Kamal Nath.
Having lost power in Madhya Pradesh after a 15-year long rule, BJP found an opportunity in disgruntled Scindia.
In 230 member MP assembly, Congress won 114 seats and formed the government with the support of four independent MLAs, two BSP MLAs, and one SP MLA. The BJP managed to win 107 seats.
BJP, however, gauged Jyotiraditya’s desperation. A day after Scindia’s resignation from Congress, BJP nominated Sincidia to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. Scindia, in return, managed to get 22 MLAs to resign from the assembly, making the Kamal Nath government lose the majority.
All 22 pro-Scindia Congress MLAs went missing before resurfacing in a Bengaluru resort with copies of resignation letters. Within a day Congress not only lost one of its senior leaders but also lost the majority in Madhya Pradesh assembly.
With the Kamal Nath government losing majority, BJP started demanding floor tests followed by a series of meeting with Governor Lalji Tandon. Letters were exchanged and to some extent, the Kamal Nath government found a silver lining when the Speaker of the assembly adjourned the session till March 25 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Few extra weeks would have given Congress time to convince rebel MLAs to join the party fold. The issue soon reached the Supreme Court with Shivraj Singh Chouhan demanding immediate floor test. Once in court, the matter was out of any political authority’s reach and, on Thursday, the apex court ordered a floor test to be conducted within a day.
With the Supreme Court ordering a floor test and failing to communicate with the rebel MLAs to muster numbers, Chief Minister Kamal Nath submitted his resignation to the Governor.