- Madhya Pradesh assembly session adjourned till March 26
- Governor walked out; he had written to Speaker to hold floor test today
- MLAs of government and BJP remained inside, shouted slogans at each other
Here are the Top 10 points on Madhya Pradesh Government Crisis:
The Governor this morning walked out of the assembly amid slogans of "respect the house" after reading out only the last page of his address on the opening day of the budget session and urging the Congress to "follow the Constitution".
"All must follow the rules under the Constitution so that dignity of Madhya Pradesh remains protected," said the Governor, who had written to the Speaker to hold a test of strength today for the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government, which is in huge trouble after the rebellion of a group of MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The Congress, desperate for survival, has asked for the assembly to be suspended over coronavirus. Many of its MLAs entered the house wearing masks. Long after the Governor's walkout, the MLAs of the government and the opposition BJP remained inside, shouting slogans at each other. As they walked out, the BJP MLAs sang: "Hum Honge Kaamyab..."
Kamal Nath has written to the Governor calling his letter directing a trust vote unconstitutional. "It does not lie within the domain of the Governor to interfere with the functions of the Speaker," said the Chief Minister's six-page letter.
"Corona won't save Kamal Nath's government. He has clearly lost his majority, so he avoided a trust vote today," said the BJP's three-term chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The resignation of 22 Congress MLAs has brought the state government on the brink of collapse. The MLAs, who flew to Bengaluru in BJP-ruled Karnataka, are expected to follow Jyotiraditya Scindia into the BJP; the long-time Congress leader made the stunning switch last week, complaining that the party was "not what it was before". The four-time MP had been seething in resentment for months, without any government or party post in Madhya Pradesh after the Congress won state polls in December 2018.
Only six of the 22 resignations have been accepted by the Speaker. The Congress claims the rebels have been kept captive in Bengaluru and is desperate for more time to establish contact with them and possibly, win them back.
In his letter, Mr Nath said to the Governor: "The Governor cannot require the Speaker to discharge his functions in the manner he considers constitutionally appropriate." On the weekend, the Chief Minister even wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah requesting "help" to free the "kidnapped" MLAs.
The Madhya Pradesh assembly currently has 222 of 230 members and the majority mark is 112. The Congress has 108 MLAs in the House, and the support of seven allied legislators. If the resignations of all 22 MLAs are accepted, the Congress's strength will come way below the new majority mark of 104, and the BJP, with 107 MLAs, can form government.
With every vote becoming crucial, there was a commotion when an independent MLA, Shera Bhaiya, was seen sitting with the BJP MLAs. He had earlier gone to Jaipur with the Congress MLAs. He later claimed he had merely gone to greet his "BJP friends". Kamal Nath's government initially had 120 MLAs - just four over the majority mark of 116 in the full assembly. In case the government does not initiate a trust vote, the opposition can move a "no confidence motion" against the government.