Amid a political crisis in Karnataka where the Congress-JD(S) government is in trouble, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has moved to keep his flock of Congress MLAs and those supporting him together.
The seven-month-old Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh is surviving on a wafer-thin majority and Nath is using all his political acumen to ward off any threat to his dispensation from the BJP.
Nath has categorically told the MLAs of his party and those from the BSP, SP and Independents, who are supporting his government, not to leave the state capital while the monsoon session of the assembly is underway, Congress sources said Tuesday.
The Congress veteran seems to have sniffed the BJPs game plan of seeking division (voting) on financial matters in the assembly and wants MLAs from the Congress and allies to remain present in the House when required.
The 19-day-long monsoon session of the Madhya Pradesh assembly began on July 8.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Tuesday reiterated its support to the Congress government in the state.
Addressing a meeting of MLAs from his party, the BSP, SP, independents at his residence Sunday night, Nath had told the legislators to stay put in the House to thwart the BJPs move to seek division on important issues, they added.
On the other hand, the opposition BJP, too, is ready with its plan to take on the Congress-led government, which assumed charge in December 2018.
Addressing a meeting here Monday night, Leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava and state BJP chief Rakesh Singh had asked all the BJP MLAs to be present in the House, a party leader said.
Bhargava had in May written a letter to Governor Anandiben Patel, requesting her to convene a special session of the assembly for a floor test of the government shortly after the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls, winning 28 of the 29 parliamentary seats in Madhya Pradesh.
Bhargava had then told PTI that the BJP would seek a division of votes on financial matters, a move which will test the Congress-led government's strength in the House.
If the government fails to push through financial matters in the House, it runs the risk of losing majority and falling, the senior BJP legislator had said.
In the 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress had won 114 of the state's 230 seats, two short of the simple majority mark of 116.
The BSP (two MLAs) and the Samajwadi Party (one MLA) are supporting the Nath government, which also has the backing of four independent legislators.
The BJP, which lost power in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years, had won 109 assembly seats and one MLA resigned after winning the Lok Sabha elections.
When contacted, BSP MLA Ram Bai told PTI Tuesday that she has not been approached by the BJP for any help.
"We are with the government, Ram Bai said and reiterated the BSP's support to the Congress government."
Finance Minister and Congress leader Tarun Bhanot accused the BJP of playing "dirty politics" and asserted its game plan will not succeed.
"They cant do any harm to the Congress in the state as MLAs of the party and allies are united," Bhanot said.
The ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka has been rocked by the resignations of 14 MLAs - 11 of the former and three of the latter.
The ruling coalition faces the threat of losing its majority if the resignations of the rebel MLAs are accepted by the Speaker.
The rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs are camping in Maharashtra.
Two independents have also resigned from the Karnataka ministry.
The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the 13-month-long H D Kumaraswamy-led government in the southern state.
The BJP has been rejecting allegations of its involvement in the resignation of the MLAs.