If unfolding political developments in Bhopal and Gurugram are any indication, the Karnataka syndrome has arrived on the Madhya Pradesh political scene. Depending on which party claims what, as many as eight Congress MLAs are missing or “abducted” since Tuesday.
The current developments in Madhya Pradesh are a virtual re-run of the power games that the BJP and Congress have fought in Karnataka in recent times.
It was only reccently that the Karnataka BJP welcomed as many as 17 rebel MLAs into the party folds, thus toppling the Congress-JDS coaliton government. BS Yediyurappa, the Lingayat strongman and veteran BJP leader, said to be the maker of the BJP in Karnataka became the CM.
The episode is now being replayed in Madhya Pradesh.
Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday morning claimed that the MLAs would return to the Congress fold while claiming the Kamal Nath government faces no risk.
Meanwhile, even as the Congress is blaming the BJP, the latter has termed the crisis as an internal matter of the Congress.
BJP MP from Satna, Ganesh Singh on Wednesday said that the Congress should give proof to substantiate its charge, and levelled counter allegations that the Congress is creating this fuss to cover up its internal bickering.
Around five to six Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh were staying at a five-star hotel in Gurugram, a source said on Tuesday night. Sources also said that a top BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh is accompanying them.
It is being said that the Congress MLAs have revolted against their party after differences arose between them and Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
The ‘rebel’ MLAs arrived in Gurugram’s ITC Grand Hotel around 8 p.m. on Tuesday and currently are staying on the fifth floor, a source said.
The floor has been cordoned off by the hotel, and is said to be under the supervision of the local administration and some trusted men of the BJP.
With a very slender majority in the Madhya Pradesh legislature, the latest developments spell trouble for the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the state.
The Congress has 114 seats of its own and has the support of a total of 121 members in the Assembly. This includes legislators from independents and marginal players like the Samajwadi Party.
The BJP is also reported to have squirrelled away some of the ‘missing’ legislators to Bengaluru for ‘safekeeping’.
The BJP has 107 seats and the midway mark is 115 in the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
Apart from deciding the fate of the Madhya Pradesh government, the numbers in the legislature also have a bearing on the outcome of the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for later this month. The two major political players in Madhya Pradesh are therefore going all out to hold on to their legislators.