Jyotiraditya Scindia made it an unhappy Holi for Congress, quitting the party early Tuesday, which triggered 22 MLA resignations and pushed the Kamal Nath government to the brink.
Seventeen of the MLAs who have resigned are from the Scindia faction, and two were already incommunicado. Three others joined them, including one brought back from Bengaluru. BJP promptly took the resignations to Speaker NP Prajapati, who said he would take a decision only after legal opinion.
If the resignations are accepted, it’ll reduce Congress’s strength in the 230-member Assembly to 92, and BJP, with 107 MLAs, could stake claim to form the government. There were reports of an SP and a BSP MLA – who have so far supported the Congress government – meeting Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the three-time BJP CM.
The crisis hit the Kamal Nath government on the 75th birth anniversary of Congress stalwart Madhavrao Scindia, Jyotiraditya’s father. In the morning, Scindia drove himself to PM Narendra Modi’s residence, where home minister Amit Shah was already present. After that, Scindia went to Shah’s residence and around 1pm, tweeted his resignation letter addressed to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi.
Dated March 9, it says: “As you well know, this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year,” and goes on to add that he was “unable to work in the party anymore”.
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) 1583822401000
Scindia’s resignation left Congress in shock, but state party leaders rallied behind CM Nath and vowed to battle it out. After a meeting at his house, attended by 98 Congress and alliance MLAs, Nath told reporters that his party’s MLAs had been “imprisoned in Bengaluru”.
“They are in touch with me. If they are independent, why are they being kept in Bengaluru? Bring them to Bhopal. The government is stable. No need to worry,” said Nath.