Amid unrest in Rajasthan & Karnataka, Kamal Nath asks MP ministers to look after ‘easy to poach’ MLAs

PTI, May 28, 2019, 10:46 AM IST

Bhopal: Days after the Lok Sabha poll results, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has moved swiftly to keep his flock of Congress MLAs together to thwart any poaching attempt by a resurgent BJP.

Nath, whose five-month-old government is surviving on a wafer-thin majority, has asked each of his Cabinet colleague to look after at least five legislators to check any desertion to the opposition camp, a Congress leader said Monday.

Apprehension about the government’s stability has crept in the Congress after its humiliating defeat in the recently concluded general elections in Madhya Pradesh, where it won just one of the 29 parliamentary seats, conceding the rest to the BJP.

The BJP last week wrote a letter to the governor, requesting her to convene a special session of the assembly for testing the Nath government’s strength on the floor of the House. “Nath ji has asked each of his 27 Cabinet colleague from his party to look after five legislators, the Congress leader told PTI.

The ministers are going to act as the “guardian” to the legislators, he said. They will coordinate and ensure that development works in the constituencies of these MLAs are not hampered, the leader added.

An Independent MLA, too, is part of Naths Cabinet. In the 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress had won 114 of the state’s 230 seats, two short of the majority mark of 116. The BJP had bagged 109 seats.

The Nath government is backed by two BSP MLAs, one legislator of the SP and four Independent lawmakers. The Congress came to power in Madhya Pradesh barely six months ago after a wait of 15 years.

The Congress leader said Nath Sunday asked ministers to look after MLAs after holding two meetings — one with his Cabinet colleagues and the other with all MLAs. At the meeting with Nath, the CongressMLAs aired their grievances related to ministers and the state bureaucracy, he said.

The Chief Minister told the MLAs that he has asked his Cabinet colleagues to look into the issues raised by them, he said. Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava of the BJP on May 20 wrote a letter to Governor Anandiben Patel, requesting her to convene a special session of the assembly to discuss the problems being faced by the state.

According to Bhargava, the BJP will seek a division (voting) on financial matters in the House. If the Congress-led government fails to scrape through, it will collapse, he said Monday. Nath has accused the BJP of luring his partys MLAs with money and posts to topple his government, a charge denied by the main opposition party.

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