Madhya Pradesh Politics: No Floor Test, House Adjourned Over Coronavirus Concern
In a reprieve for beleaguered Kamal Nath-led government, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly was adjourned till March 26 in view of the state government's concern over coronavirus even as the Bharatiya Janata Party raised the demand for holding of a floor test as directed by Governor Lalji Tandon.
Budget session began at 11 a.m. after singing of Vande Mataram. The governor began his customary address to the House which lasted for barely two minutes, as he didn't read out the entire content and left with Speaker NP Prajapati.
In his address, the governor urged the legislators to follow Constitutional traditions, maintain dignity of democracy and act peacefully in the current situation prevailing in the state.
As soon as Tandon finished his address, members of the BJP raised the demand for holding of a floor test.
The governor had on Saturday night directed chief minister Kamal Nath to seek a trust vote in view of 22 MLAs of the Congress resigning from the party.
The demand for a floor test raised by the BJP MLAs caused uproar in the House, with members from the Treasury benches also raising slogans.
Amid the ruckus, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Govind Singh raised the issue of coronavirus threat in the country and also mentioned an advisory issued by the Central government.
Accepting Singh's demand, Speaker NP Prajapati adjourned the proceedings till March 26, the day when voting for the Rajya Sabha elections will be held.
Earlier, clarity eluded over holding of the floor test.
In his letter to the governor, Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Monday stated that holding of a floor test in the Assembly was not possible in view of some MLAs of the Congress being held in "captivity" by the BJP with the help of Karnataka Police.
"I would like you to recall that when I met you on March 13, 2020, I had brought to your notice that BJP has kept many Congress MLAs as captive under the control of Karnataka Police and they were forced to give different types of statements.
"I have clarified that in such a situation holding any floor test has no meaning and it will be undemocratic and unconstitutional," Nath stated.
The drama continued even after the House was adjourned, as 106 MLAs of the BJP, led by former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, reached the residence of the governor and demanded that a floor test be held immediately.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, Nath dared the BJP to bring a no-confidence motion against his government.
"If the BJP is demanding floor test and saying that we don't have majority, they should bring a no-confidence motion against my government. Why are they shying away (from bringing a no-confidence motion). We will prove our majority," Nath told reporters at the state Assembly.
Earlier in the day, MLAs from BJP and Congress started arriving at the state Assembly for the session.
MLAs of the BJP reached the Assembly in three separate buses along with senior party leaders. They had landed in Bhopal from Manesar in Haryana at around 2 a.m.
Many legislators were seen covering their faces with masks amid the threat of coronavirus. These masks were provided by the state assembly secretariat as announced by the speaker earlier.