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In a jolt to BJP, 2 of its MLAs back Kamal govt in key vote

THE ASIAN AGE. | RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY
Published : Jul 25, 2019, 12:48 am IST
Updated : Jul 25, 2019, 3:02 am IST

The Speaker did not participate in the division. So it was clear that two BJP MLAs had cross-voted in support of the government on the bill.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal
 Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal

Bhopal: In a dramatic turn of events, the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday won a “surprise” division on a bill in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly by ensuring cross-voting by two Opposition BJP MLAs.

This development, dealing a jolt to BJP, came hours after BJP Legislature Party leader Gopal Bhargav said he would ensure the downfall of the Kamal Nath government within 24 hours after getting a signal to this effect by his party’s “number one and number two” leaders.

Taking the BJP by surprise, MP Assembly Speaker N.P. Prajapati accepted the demand by the BSP, that provided outside support to the Nath government, to hold a division on the anti-cow slaughter (amendment) bill in the House. The bill was passed with support from 122 members.

The division has exposed the fissures in the BJP, with at least two party MLAs cross-voting in support of the bill. The Congress has strength of 114, including the Speaker, while the Kamal Nath government has been given outside support by two BSP MLAs, the lone Samajwadi Party legislator and four Independents.

The Speaker did not participate in the division. So it was clear that two BJP MLAs had cross-voted in support of the government on the bill.

Later, two BJP MLAs, Narayan Tripathy and Sharad Kol, who were flanked by chief minister Kamal Nath in his official Assembly chamber, said they were influenced by the CM’s vision on development of the state and hence decided to support him.

“We are not bothered if we face disqualification for supporting the ruling Congress. We have decided to support the Congress in the interest of development of our respective Assembly constituencies”, the two BJP MLAs told reporters.

Talking to reporters, Mr Nath said he was aghast at the frequent threats by the BJP to pull down his government and wanted to show that his government had a majority, and was not in minority. “Every day, BJP leaders threaten to pull down my government. I wanted to demonstrate that our government is not in a minority, but had a majority. Today’s victory of the division on the bill was not a mere victory of division on a bill but the victory of a trust vote in favour of my government”, he said.

“I am ready to face a floor test in the House to prove my majority at any point”, he added.

The BJP, however, cried foul. “The BJP wanted the passage of the bill unanimously in the House. Where was the need for a division? The Congress hurriedly went for a division since it was apprehensive about the stability of its government” former CM and BJP national vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.

He, however, parried questions on the cross-voting by two BJP MLAs. Interestingly, this comes just a day after the JD(S)- Congress coalition government fell in a trust vote in Karnataka, paving the way for the BJP to form the government there.

The MP Assembly was later adjourned sine die after the passage of the bill.

Tags: kamal nath government, bjp mlas
Location: India, Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal