BHOPAL: With Supreme Court ordering a floor test by 5pm on Friday, chief minister Kamal Nath on Thursday said his government would take legal opinion.
“We will study Supreme Court’s order and every aspect related to it, discuss with legal experts, take their advice, and then finalise our decision,” he tweeted. From the time SC gave its judgment, the 15-month-old Nath government had 24 hours to take the floor test.
Voting will be by show of hands. The political turmoil that started about a fortnight ago seems headed for a thrilling climax.
With the death of two sitting MLAs and resignation of six Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalists accepted, the House strength now stands at 222, putting the majority mark at 112.
On paper, Congress has 108 MLAs — including the Scindia faction rebels whose resignations are yet to be accepted. If four of the allies (two from BSP, one from SP and four Independents) support Congress, it touches the magic figure. With 107 MLAs, BJP falls short.
The 16 Congress rebels hold the key. If they don’t turn up, and the floor test is held on the basis of members present and voting, BJP easily has the upper hand since Congress is reduced to 92. Even if all seven allies support Congress, it will still fall short
The SC has ordered DGPs of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to ensure security to the rebel Congress MLAs if they want to come to the House. But will they? Will Congress be able to pacify the Scindia loyalists?
The lone Samajwadi Party MLA, Rajeev Shukla, of BIjawar constituency has been issued a whip by his party to support Congress. State BSP president Ramakant Pippal, on the other hand, said both party MLAs have been “briefed about voting”. “I cannot reveal party details to you,” he said, when asked if the party had issued a whip.
BJP may have its own issues. It counts 107 MLAs but paraded 106 before the Governor on Monday. BJP MLA from Maihar Narayan Tripathi has been visiting CM Kamal Nath frequently and has repeatedly said the government is safe. The state cabinet on Wednesday cleared his demand to carve Maihar into a district. Tripathi is one of the two BJP MLAs who supported the Congress government in the monsoon session last July.
CM Kamal Nath has said that many of the 16 rebel MLAs and some BJP legislators are in contact with him. On the other hand, BJP chief whip Narottam Mishra has said that 20 Congress MLAs are in touch with him. The stage is set for a thriller.