Dang was among the three Congress MLAs and one Independent legislator who were currently “holidaying” in Bengaluru.
Bhopal/New Delhi: In a dramatic turn of events, a ruling Congress MLA on Thursday resigned from the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, indicating a looming crisis ahead for the Kamal Nath government.
The Congress legislator from Suwasara in Mandsaur district, Hardeep Singh Dang, sent his resignation letter to Assembly Speaker N.P. Prajapati and chief minister Kamal Nath. Mr Dang was among the three Congress MLAs and one Independent legislator who were currently “holidaying” in Bengaluru.
The four MLAs have been “missing” for the last one week.
In another development, family members of Congress MLA Baishahulal Singh, who was among the four MLAs now on a tour to Bengaluru, filed a report in the local police station in Annupur in MP that he has been missing for the past several days. Mr Dang cited negligence towards his constituency by the Kamal Nath government as the reason for resigning. “I was not made a minister in the state nor was development work carried out in my constituency”, he wrote in his resignation latter.
The political drama in Madhya Pradesh continued on Thursday with two Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs and one Samajwadi Party legislator, who were purportedly “rescued” by Congress state ministers from a Gurgaon luxury hotel, claiming nobody from BJP had taken them “hostage”. The Congress, however, maintained in Delhi that the BJP had abducted 14 of their MLAs.
Taking strong exception to their portrayal as “pliable” politicians by Congress by staging the “rescue operation”, the three MLAs, who were among the six MLAs “rescued” by MP ministers Jai Vardhan Singh and Jitu Patwari from a Gurgaon hotel, described the entire “narrative” on the “rescue operation” by the two ministers as a “white lie”.
“Nobody has taken us to Delhi and arranged our accommodation in any hotel nor did anybody rescue us. The two ministers asked us if we will be available for a chat. We were later asked to come with them to Bhopal in a chartered plane”, BSP MLA Sanjeev Kushwaha told reporters here.
“It is ridiculous to say that we were kept in a hotel to be purchased by the BJP. This is absolutely baseless charge which tarnished our image in public. We stood by the Kamal Nath government and will do so in future”, he added.
Another BSP legislator Rama Bai ridiculed the claim by Congress veteran Digvijay Singh that she was misbehaved with by BJP leaders in the Gurgaon hotel, describing it as “not true”. She added: “Nobody can dare to touch Rama Bai, leave alone misbehaving with her.”
SP MLA Rajendra Shukla also echoed similar sentiments, saying that a section of Congress leaders wanted to shore up their image before their party high command, and hence they staged the whole “drama”.
The ruling Congress in Bhopal on Thursday found itself on a sticky wicket following the outbursts by the two BSP MLAs and one SP legislator who support the Kamal Nath government. “We have never mentioned the names of MLAs rescued from the hotel. It is true some MLAs were missing”, said Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja.
In New Delhi, the Congress’ central leadership again claimed that the BJP was destabilising its state government. It accused the saffron party of trying to bring down the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh by “abducting 14 MLAs” of the ruling alliance.
“The atmosphere created by the BJP in the country (is of) targeting and breaking Opposition party leaders with threats of raids, etc, and forcing them to join or ally with the BJP so they can form the government,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media. “Wherever other parties have made governments, their (BJP’s) aim has been to destabilise them. This fever to destabilise state governments rises when the Rajya Sabha elections are due,” he said.
Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed the BJP “abducted 14 MLAs” and accused the saffron party of being hand in glove with the “mafia” in Madhya Pradesh, which wants to topple the Congress government in the state. “Eleven mafias have been identified and are being reined in by the Congress. They had been active for 15 years. The Vyapam scam is unravelling. So, this is a conspiracy to bring the Madhya Pradesh government down,” he said.
Senior Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijay Singh, both of whom lost last year’s Lok Sabha polls, are the two main contenders for Rajya Sabha berths from the state. Digvijay Singh is a sitting Rajya Sabha member and is retiring later this month.
Chief minister Kamal Nath is keen to induct a local leader for one seat, leaving the fight open between Mr Singh and Mr Scindia for the other seat.