The 15-month-old Congress government in Madhya Pradesh led by Kamal Nath, which has a wafer-thin majority, has been pushed to the brink with a group of MLAs camping at a star hotel in Gurgaon near Delhi. In overnight drama, senior Congress leaders were seen bringing out one member with her bags.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh says four are still inside. He said Ramabai, a suspended MLA from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has managed to leave the hotel. Madhya Pradesh ministers and Congress leaders Jitu Patwari and Jaivardhan Singh were seen coming out of the ITC hotel in Gurgaon's Manesar along with Ms Ramabai.
"People with whom our contact was established were ready to come back to us. We were able to get in touch with Bisahulal Singh (Congress MLA) and Ramabai. Ramabai came back, even when the BJP tried to stop her," Mr Singh told news agency ANI early this morning.
The MLAs are in Gurgaon a day after Mr Singh alleged that the BJP is trying to bribe the MLAs of his party. "The BJP's Rampal Singh, Narottam Mishra, Arvind Bhadauria, Sanjay Pathak were going to give them money. Had there been a raid, they would have been caught... We think 10 to 11 MLAs were there, only four are still with them now, they will also come back to us," he said today.
In the 231-member Madhya Pradesh assembly, the Congress has a strength of 114 MLAs and the BJP has 107. Of the remaining nine seats, two are with the BSP while the Samajwadi Party has one MLA. There are four independents in the assembly.
Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot told NDTV late last night that Congress MLA and former minister Bisahulal Singh called them up and informed them that "they have been forcefully kept at the ITC Maratha Hotel in Gurugram and not being allowed to go out".
"Our two ministers, Jaivardhan Singh and Jeetu Patwari, who went to the concerned hotel in Gurugram to meet the eight MLAs after getting the phone call from one of the legislators, are not being allowed entry in the hotel," Mr Bhanot said.
"Since Haryana has a BJP government, hence the police there and Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA and former minister Narottam Mishra aren't allowing our two ministerial colleagues to meet the legislators kept forcefully inside the hotel," said Mr Bhanot.
Alleging that the BJP is trying to destabilise the Congress government, Digvijaya Singh had claimed yesterday that former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narottam Mishra have been trying to "lure the Congress's legislators by offering Rs 25-35 crore".
Last year, in July, Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava, had attacked the Kamal Nath government in the state assembly, saying: "One order from the top and your government won't survive."
"Hamare oopar wale number 1 ya number 2 ka aadesh hua to 24 ghante bhi aapki sarkar nahi chalegi (If there is an order from our top leadership, your government won't survive even 24 hours," he had said on July 24.
Five hours later, during the discussion on the Criminal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the state Assembly, Kamal Nath government got 122 votes in favor, seven more than majority in 231-member state assembly.