20 more Cong MLAs ready to jump ship: rebel MP legislators

After 1992, realising the potential of a dispute like the one in Ayodhya, the BJP attempted to pick up similarly polarising issues like the Idgah Maidan controversy in Hubli and the Bababudangiri dispute in Chikmagalur. Photo: PTI

Rebel Congress MLAs from political crisis hit Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday (March 17) claimed 20 more MLAs from that party want to join them and they were thinking of joining BJP in the days to come.

Speaking to reporters for the first time after arriving in Bengaluru and sending in their resignations, the 22 MLAs said they were ready to face any consequences.

“Jyotiraditya Scindia is our leader; we have been doing politics with him for years, most of us are in politics because of him…We are still thinking regarding joining BJP. If we get protection from central police, we will go to Madhya Pradesh and think about it,” a woman MLA said.

The legislators claimed 20 more MLAs are with them, but have been kept in captivity. If they too were with the rebels, Congress would have clearly broken and no law could have been enforced on the group.

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The rebel MLAs said they are ready for any consequences and were confident that people of their constituencies are with them.

In a massive setback for the Congress, its prominent youth leader Jyotiradtya Scindia quit the party and in a coordinated rebellion last week 22 MLAs loyal to him resigned in Madhya Pradesh, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government to the brink of collapse.

Scindia joined the BJP on March 11. “We were quiet when our leader Jyotiraditya Scindia was not made Chief Minister. Kamal Nath, who became CM, did not give any funds to our constituencies, while clearances were given for Chhindwara (constituency represented by Nath) at almost every cabinet meeting,” a rebel MLA said.

Another MLA said Nath had no time to meet them and hear their grievances. “When there is no development in our constituency, what is the use?”

Several MLAs also alleged that seniority and capability were not considered in forming of Ministry after the elections. They said they even met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in this regard, but nothing came of it.

Rejecting claims by Congress leaders that they were held hostage here, the MLAs clarified that they had come to the city voluntarily.

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