Cong, BJP busy guarding their flock in MP

Kamal Nath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Bhopal,  Both Congress and the BJP appear to be sweating it out to keep their flock in Madhya Pradesh together before the next test of strength during the Rajya Sabha polls due this month.

After former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh’s allegations about BJP leaders offering Rs 25 to 35 crore to Congress MLAs and Rs 5 crore in advance and the remaining amounts in part, both parties have intensified efforts to keep the numbers intact.

Digvijaya Singh had on Monday put on record what was already in public domain since the past few months. The BJP leaders have also said it in so many words that all they need is a signal from the top leaders to topple the Kamal Nath government that is still short of a majority in the Assembly.

His specific charge on Monday was against former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his senior colleague Narottam Mishra. For the seriousness of the charges, the BJP leaders’ response was curiously casual. Mishra only said: “I would not like to take Digvijaya’s charges seriously. He is known to be in the news through such tactics.”

Chouhan, in a tweet, said: “Telling lies to cause sensation is an old habit of
Digvijaya Singh. He must have done it this time to pressure the government for
some unfulfilled wish.”

BJP’s new state President, V.D. Sharma, who is camping here since Monday, is contacting each party MLA.

The war of words intensified after BJP MLAs Sharad Kol and Narayan Tripathi skipped a party meeting organised here during the day.

The two legislators had earlier voted in favour of Kamal Nath’s government, though
the BJP did not take any action against them at the time. Both are former Congressmen who had switched to the BJP.

Resentment is indeed brewing in the Congress. Many senior party MLAs have been openly
demanding ministerial berths. The Jyotiraditya Scindia faction, which has at least nine MLAs, has been complaining about the overbearing attitude of the bureaucracy.

In an embarrassing situation during the previous cabinet meeting, the government had to back out on expanding the liquor vend network in the city after several ministers shot it down.

On Tuesday, Digvijaya Singh accused the former Home Minister Bhupendra Singh if he had taken BSP MLA Rambai Singh to New Delhi in a chartered plane. Singh said the party was confident of BSP MLA’s loyalty.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath said he has asked legislators of the ruling camp to take the money allegedly being offered by the BJP leadership in the state, if being given freely.

“Our MLAs told me about money being offered, I am telling them ‘phokat me mil raha hai, toh le lena’,” Nath said. He also insisted that his government is secure.

Congress MLA Baijnath Kushwaha said senior saffron camp functionaries, including Chouhan, have approached him with offers.

Kushwaha is said to have told Minister Govind Singh about how Pramod Sharma from Bhind had met him on “behalf of some BJP leaders” a month ago and offered him Rs 25 crore or a ministerial post and Rs 5 crore.

“It is not a big deal for me. I will turn down bigger offers and this is my decision. I had nothing, but I was made an MLA. What more do I need? I am with the Congress and I can’t be bought at any cost,” Kushwaha said.

Govind Singh said Digvijaya Singh’s charges of horse-trading are true and urged
the BJP to stop daydreaming about forming a government in the state anytime

Congress General Secretary in-charge of MP Deepak Babaria held a meeting with
the MP ministers on Tuesday. After the party meeting, former minister Rajendra Shukla said the Congress is in touch with BJP MLAs in the Vidhya region.