'20 more Congress MLAs would quit, if freed by Kamal Nath govt'

Rebel MLAs said they didn't feel safe to go back to Bhopal, sought Central protection
'20 more Congress MLAs would quit, if freed by Kamal Nath govt'
20 more Congress MLAs would quit, if freed by Kamal Nath govt

ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS A few hours before the Supreme Court is to hear the BJP's petition seeking a direction to hold a floor test in Madhya Pradesh, the 22 'rebel' Congress MLAs from the state on Tuesday reiterated that they have no confidence in the leadership of Chief Minister Kamal Nath or the Congress government and they do not "feel safe" to go back to Bhopal. These MLAs have been in Bengaluru since the past week.

The rebel MLAs, who called an emergency press meet at the Ramada resort in the outskirts of Bengaluru on Tuesday, rubbished Kamal Nath's claim that they had been "confined" by the BJP. The rebels alleged that the Congress leadership had sidelined their leader, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and also ignored the seniority of members while forming the state cabinet.

"Kamal Nath should have been the chief minister of the entire Madhya Pradesh. But he chose to be a CM only for Chindwara. Over the last one-and-half years, our constituencies have not got any grants for development. In one of the cabinet meetings, I taunted the CM, saying there is no space left for any more development in Chindwara and he should stop allotting funds to his constituency," said Govind Singh Rajput, MLA from Surkhi.

Asked whether the MLAs intended to go back to Bhopal, Rajput stated they were ready to go under Central protection. "Yes. we are prepared to go back. If a big leader like Scindia can be attacked, we don't feel safe to go back," said Rajput, adding that media reports about their mobile phones being confiscated and the legislators being under pressure and surveillance were false.

Dabra MLA Imarti Devi, said, "Scindia ji is our leader and I have worked with him for the last 20 years. As a daughter and daughter-in-law from a poor family, if I have come to this position, it is because of our leader. We are here at our free will."

Some rebels MLAs claimed that at least 20 more Congress MLAs would quit, if they are "freed" by the Kamal Nath government.

Tribal leader and six-time MLA Bisahu Lal Singh alleged the Congress had overlooked his seniority while forming the cabinet. "In fact, Rahul Gandhi acknowledged that I had been wronged as my name was third in the cabinet list, but had been struck down. But the party leadership chose to look the other way. Kamal Nath had no time for the party MLAs, too. As a Adivasi leader, I am pained that no Adivasi was given patta (title deed) for the lands as promised in the poll manifesto. The marriage incentive scheme for Adivasi girls was a non-starter. Nath had time to meet the brokers but not us. We will all sit together and decide what to do,” Lal Singh said.

Rajyavardhan Singh, a five-time MLA from Badnawar, said, "Kamal Nath ji is a senior leader, and I respect him a lot. But he must understand that, on the floor of the House, he does not have the majority today. Moreover, we have resigned. Why were only six resignation letters accepted? All five of us, including Bisahu Lal ji, had gone back only because Mr Prajapati (the speaker) had called us to vote for him. Though we had decided that Bisahu Lal ji would contest for the speaker's post, as the senior-most MLA, we yielded. All communities and regions should have been equally represented in the cabinet. But you chose Subash Yadav's son as the minister over other senior members."

"My video had gone viral when the party workers in my constituency were ready to quit and I told them, as a commander, I would resign first. I have the mandate of my people to resign too. Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and Rahul Gandhi have let me down. I wrote to Kamal Nath ji, saying justice delayed is justice denied. It is an injustice meted out to the people of my constituency as the leaders had appealed for votes in my constituency, saying the vote was not for an MLA but a minister," said Rajyavardhan Singh.

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