- Congress government fell after Jyotiraditya Scindia crossed over to BJP
- As he resigned, Kamal Nath accused the BJP of plotting to overthrow him
- Shivraj Chouhan had reportedly confirmed BJP's central leadership role
Prime Minister Narendra Modi played an "important role" in the fall of Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in March, Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP's National General Secretary, claimed - in a statement that appeared to be in jest - at a public event in Indore on Wednesday.
"Aap kisi ko batana mat, maine aaj tak kisi ko nahi bataayee, pahli baar is manch se bata raha hoon, ki Kamal Nathji ki sarkar girane mein yadi mahatvpoorna bhumika kisiki thee toh Narendra Modiji ki thee, Dharmendra Pradhanji ki nahi," Mr Vijayvargiya said, with Mr Pradhan, a Union Minister, and the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister, Narottam Mishra present at the time.
Translated, Mr Vijayvargiya's comment reads: "Don't tell anyone. I haven't told anyone this till now... am making it public for the first time from this stage. If anyone played an important role in pulling down the Kamal Nath government, it was Narendra Modi and not Dharmendra Pradhan".
In June Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reportedly told party workers that it was the BJP's central leadership that engineered the fall of the Congress government, which broke apart after former MP Jyotiraditya Scindia led a high-profile revolt.
Mr Scindia crossed over to the BJP, taking 22 MLAs with him and leaving the Kamal Nath government short of majority in a floor test. As he resigned, Kamal Nath accused the BJP of plotting to overthrow him from the moment he was sworn-in in December 2018.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which has frequently made similar claims - that the fall of its government in Madhya Pradesh (and Karnataka, where it ruled with the Janata Dal Secular) was orchestrated by the BJP, was quick to pounce on Mr Vijayvargiya's stunning claim.
Tweeting a video of the comment, party spokesperson Narendra Saluja said: "It is crystal clear now that it (is) Prime Minister Narendra Modi who pulls down constitutionally-elected governments in (an) unconstitutional manner."
"The Congress has been saying it right since day one, but the BJP has been blaming the Congress's internal tussle for the fall of the Kamal Nath government. Now the BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya has made the truth crystal clear," Mr Saluja added.