Bengaluru, March 19 (IANS) The rebel Madhya Pradesh Congress MLAs are unlikely to go to Bhopal for the floor test which the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Assembly Speaker to conduct on Friday, a source said here.
“As the apex court gave the 22 rebels an option to attend the special session or not, they are unlikely to return to Bhopal, as their contention is they have already resigned from their Assembly segments on March 11, but the Speaker did not accept them so far,” the Congress source told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Directing Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati to hold a special session for the floor test on Friday by 5 p.m., the apex court division bench, headed by Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, directed the Karnataka police chief to provide security to the 16 rebel MLAs if they choose to attend the Assembly for the trust vote.
Of the 22 rebels, 16 of them filed a joint petition on March 17, seeking the top court’s direction to the Speaker for accepting their resignations as he did in the case of six of them on March 14, a day after Governor Lalji Tandon dropped them as ministers from the beleaguered Kamal Nath government on March 13.
“If the rebels don’t attend the special session defying the party whip, they will face disqualification under the anti-defection law, as they are considered to be legislators till the Speaker accepts their resignations,” the source pointed out.
The rebels, who have been staying at a resort in the city’s northern suburb since March 9, remain incommunicado with their party leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, who was prevented from meeting them on Wednesday by the police, as they were unwilling to meet him.
“We are seeing a replay of the Karnataka act being enacted in Madhya Pradesh if the party’s rebels abstain from the Assembly to skip the floor test to ensure the 15-month-old Congress government falls for want of numbers,” noted the source.
The 13-month-old Janata Dal-Secular and Congress coalition government in the southern state collapsed on July 23, 2019 after its Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy lost the trust-vote as 14 Congress and three JD-S MLAs resigned and abstained from the Assembly by staying away in Mumbai.
“Though the apex court directed the Speaker to convene the special session for the floor test by 5 p.m. on Friday, he may seek more time in view of the coronavirus scare and the central government’s guidelines to avoid gathering of people in large numbers in public places and his own reason to put off the budget session till March 26 on the opening day (March 16) after the Governor’s address,” added the source.