Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath had been briefed about the levels of discontent brewing among 30 to 35 MLAs but failed to act on that warning, sources told NDTV on Thursday.
The Chief Minister had been warned a few weeks prior to the dramatic events of the past three days, during which 22 Congress lawmakers resigned and four-time Lok Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia quit to join the BJP, a party he criticised fiercely only a fortnight ago over the violence in Delhi last month.
Sources have said Chief Minister Kamal Nath was given specific examples of changes in behaviour of ministers and political leaders in charge of various districts. The warning was not acknowledged.
News of the ignored warning will add to murmurs within the party that its senior leadership, including the Gandhi family, could and should have done more to retain Mr Scindia. His resignation has also brought the young vs old divide in the Congress in to sharp focus.
According to sources Congress workers, especially those in the Malwa-Nirmar and Gwalior-Chambal regions, had complained of their leaders' behaviour.
As many as 15 of the MLAs who had resigned this week were from these regions.
Such a complaint had also been put forward by former minister and MLA Bisahu Lal, who has also joined the BJP. Speaking to reporters after his induction in the presence of former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Mr Lal said there were several other Congress leaders waiting to quit.
Despite being faced with mounting evidence, including the fact that Mr Scindia had been disenchanted with the party for several months, the Kamal Nath government apparently opted not to act.
Mr Scindia, once a close aide of the Gandhi family, had been passed over for chief ministership in December 2018 despite a sizeable contribution to his former party's unexpected Assembly polls win. He also reportedly tried to contact Rahul Gandhi but had been repeatedly rebuffed.
Mr Gandhi refuted that claim yesterday, saying Mr Scindia had always had ready access to him.
Jyotiraditya Scindia's crossover and the MLAs' resignations has left the Kamal Nath government on the brink of collapse; the Congress and its allies now have 99 seats to the BJP's 107.
Should the resignations be accepted, the Congress government will likely be toppled as the majority mark in the Assembly will be set at 104.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who earlier this week was defiant when asked about his government falling, will likely face a floor test next week. Senior BJP leader Narottam Mishra, whom sources had linked to attempts to destabilise the Congress administration, said as much to reporters this morning.
Madhya Pradesh could become the second Congress-ruled state to fall in less than 12 months, after a group of MLAs from the ruling Congress-JDS coalition in Karnataka quit to join the BJP, reducing the government to a minority. The BJP won the resulting floor test and 11 MLAs who had resigned were re-elected to the same seats from which they quit.