Stormy day ahead in MP Assembly, no clarity on floor test



A stormy day is forecast when the Madhya Pradesh Assembly begins its Budget session on Monday at 11 a.m. The government plans to distribute N-95 masks to all the MLAs possibly pointing to the plans ahead. The session may be curtailed or adjourned over COVID-19 fear.

Chief minister Kamal Nath's post-midnight meeting with Governor Lalji Tandon late on Sunday seems to have set the two key constitutional bigwigs on collision course. Speaker N.P. Prajapati has by selective acceptance of resignations hinted at intrigues in store. Only six of the 22 Congress legislators' resignations, sent through BJP members, have been accepted so far.

Kamal Nath had called on the Governor and the meeting ended around 12.30 a.m. Kamal Nath said the governor asked for smooth conduct of state assembly proceedings. The chief minister said he would convey the governor's wishes to the Speaker on Monday morning.

The interesting part is that the chief minister has been reduced to a messenger between the Speaker and the Governor as the governor's role is limited in the conduct of House and the Speaker's authority can't be infringed.

The chief minister told the governor that the speaker will take a decision on whether to conduct the floor test or not. Not surprising that the day's agenda released by the Vidhan Sabha secretariat doesn't mention the floor test.

Nath said he has conveyed to the governor in writing his government's willingness to undergo the floor-test if the MLAs held "captive" are released first.

The government may exploit Tandon's first letter to the chief minister on Saturday night where he had said the government had prima facie lost the majority in the House and should undergo a floor test.

Though the governor had rejected the opposition's demand to get the test conducted before his address, he infringed the Speaker's domain by questioning the government's majority even before it was tested on floor. The governor's corrigendum on Sunday night again pointed only to technicalities of how the test should be conducted again violating the Speaker's domain.

Except 16 rebel Congress MLAs who are holed up in Bengaluru, all the legislators who were staying in Jaipur and Gurugram are back in Bhopal ahead of the assembly session.

The governor has ordered for the floor test twice but so far Speaker N.P. Prajapati is defiant and has said that the coronavirus scare is the bigger concern amid speculation that the Kamal Nath government will use the COVID-19 to delay floor test.

The BJP on the other hand, has been demanding immediate floor test and has written to the Governor to this effect. IANS

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