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Governor Lalji Tandon’s sharp warning to Kamal Nath

Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon has set a fresh deadline for Chief Minister Kamal Nath to prove his government’s majority in the assembly by Tuesday, declaring that he would consider the government to have lost the trust of the assembly if he misses the crucial floor test.

The deadline came hours after Speaker NP Prajapati on Monday abruptly adjourned assembly for the next 10 days in light of health concerns over coronavirus. Speaker Prajapati said the assembly would reconvene on March 26, the day lawmakers in the state have to vote for the Rajya Sabha elections.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had anticipated that chief minister Kamal Nath would not face the trust vote, rushed to the Supreme Court along with nine other BJP lawmakers within minutes to petition the top court.

In their plea, Chouhan alleged that the Congress-led coalition government in the state wanted to delay the floor test to be able to arm twist and bribe lawmakers. The petition is expected to be taken up by the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Chouhan opened a second front back home in Bhopal and paraded his lawmakers before Governor Lalji Tandon to claim that Kamal Nath did not have the majority in the House.

Tandon did tell Kamal Nath last week to clear the floor test by Monday in light of resignation letters sent to him by 22 lawmakers. The chief minister responded to this communique on Monday, telling him that the floor test would be held only after the lawmakers “who were being captive” in Bengaluru were set free.

This argument, Tandon said in his response later in the evening, was “meaningless”.

The Kamal Nath government’s majority in the 230-member assembly had come into question after 22 lawmakers sent across their resignation.

The resignation came against the backdrop of former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia exiting the Congress and heading straight for the BJP. The speaker has only accepted the resignation of six members, bringing the strength of the House to 222, with the majority mark at 112. There are two vacancies in the 230-member assembly.

Before the crisis, the Congress had 114 MLAs, and enjoyed the support of 4 independent legislators, 2 MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party and 1 legislator of the Samajwadi Party. The BJP has 107 MLAs.

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