- Kamal Nath said he "will not be bowled by Shivraj's googly"
- "I have belief in my MLAs and I am in touch with them": Kamal Nath
- Madhya Pradesh government is in crisis after 22 Congress MLAs quit
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath today said he was in "secret talks" with rebel Congress MLAs who threaten his government's survival and was confident of retaining his majority. "If they were brainwashed, they would not have called me," Kamal Nath told NDTV, ruling out the possibility of his predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan returning to power with the support of the rebels.
"I will not be bowled by Shivraj-ji's googly. His googly will be a wide," said the Chief Minister, pointedly using cricket metaphor a day after Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen in photos participating in a match.
"I am in talks with many of them, secretly. I have belief in my MLAs. I am in touch with them."
Kamal Nath's 15-month-old government is on the verge of crashing after 22 Congress MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia flew to Bengaluru last Monday and resigned as the four-time Congress MP crossed over to the BJP.
Jyotiraditya Scindia's switch was shocking, but not entirely unexpected after months of bickering between him, Kamal Nath and another Congress veteran, Digvijaya Singh, in Madhya Pradesh.
"I never thought he (Jyotiraditya Scindia) would leave, but everyone decides their own future and he chose his," Kamal Nath said.
On reports that Mr Scindia was upset at being denied any post, including that of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief, he tossed the subject towards the party's Delhi leadership and said: "I couldn't have made him the chief. This decision is taken in Delhi. Why he was unhappy, our leaders in Delhi will answer."
Explaining his letter to Governor Lalji Tandon calling his directive calling for a trust vote unconstitutional, he said: "We have a majority. If anyone tells the governor that we don't, he should have told them to bring a no trust motion."
He accused the BJP of organizing the flight of MLAs who "had always complimented" his style of functioning.
"How did they go to Bangalore? The BJP paid for their flight, organised the flight. There are 500-1,000 policemen guarding them. They can't talk to each other. Their phones have been snatched. Are they really free? Their resignations were brought by the BJP members~CHECK~" Kamal Nath said.
"If they were with the BJP, would they not have joined along with Jyotiraditya? Did they leave Congress? They will return to Bhopal, I have faith. There is no threat to their lives. There's media, there's police, they are safe."
Dismissing any threat from the BJP, he said: "In fact some BJP leaders are in touch with me. Shivraj ji is only dreaming about becoming chief minister again."