Sunday, August 7, 2022

Supreme Court says Kamal Nath should prove strength on MP Assembly floor by 5 pm Friday

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave less than 24 hours to the Kamal Nath government to hold a floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The apex court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, which was hearing the petition by the BJP seeking immediate resolution of the impasse in the state legislature, said the floor test should be held by 5 pm on Friday, March 20, with videography of the proceedings.
The rebel 22 MLAs, 6 of whose resignation has been accepted by Speaker NP Prajapati, can avail security as they had sought. The court directed the DGPs of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to that effect. The Supreme Court said the assembly session must focus on the floor test alone and that voting on the test will be by a show of hands. The court asked authorities to ensure the voting takes place peacefully without any breach of law and order.
The floor test was necessitated by the post-Holi shifting of political allegiance by Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was said to be close to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to the BJP. Scindia and his entourage of 22 rebel MLAs had by then tugged at the carpet under Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Though all the MLAs sent in their resignations, Speaker Prajapati refused to take into account 16 of them. He insisted that the 16 MLAs present themselves and convince him as to there was no coercion on them by others.

Following the inability of the 16 MLAs to meet the Speaker without security, fearing attempts by the Congress to convince them against the move, Governor Lalji Tandon asked the Speaker to hold a floor test. The BJP then moved the apex court following a long adjournment of the assembly on Monday.
Kamal Nath, who enjoys a thin majority, told news channels that he will be able to hold his depleting flock together.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court said the Governor was well within his rights to call for a floor test. To Speaker Prajapati’s request for 2 weeks’ time, the court wondered whether such a long window will provide a convenient time for horse-trading. The court heard all sides including Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, and BJP’s counsel Mukul Rohatgi before arriving at the decision on the floor test.

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