A leaked audio clip of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s speech before party workers makes it clear that Jyotiraditya Scindia’s loyalist 20-odd Congress MLAs had not voluntarily decided to bring down the Congress government of Kamal Nath but were lured, probably with money and other inducements, to act as they did by the BJP’s central leadership in March this year.
Addressing the BJP workers at Sanwer Assembly constituency, Chouhan is heard as having said: “Kendriya Netritva Nay Tai Kiya Ki Sarkar Girni Chahiye, Nahin To Ye Barbad Kar Degi, Tabah Kar Degi. Aur Aap Batao Jyotiraditya Scindia Aur Tulsi Bhai Ke Bina Sarkar Gir Sakti Thi Kya. Aur Koi Tareeka Nahin Tha. (The central leadership decided that the government should be brought down as it was ruining everything. Now you tell me, was it possible to bring down the government without Jyotiraditya Scindia and Tulsi Bhai. There was no other way)” Sanwer is the constituency of Tulsi Bhai or Tulsi Ram Silawat who was Health Minister in the Kamal Nath government and is now a member of Chouhan’s mini-cabinet with Water Resources portfolio.
The authenticity of the audio clip has not been challenged by Chouhan or any other BJP leader. BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal only tried to play it down by repeating what he, and others in the party, had been saying: “The government fell because of the disenchantment of the 22 Scindia loyalist MLAs with the Kamal Nath government and the State BJP formed the next government following the consent of the central leadership.”
Watch, Shivraj Singh Chouhan accepting that it is BJP’s central leadership which planned fall of Kamal Nath govt
Now a look back at the developments leading up to the fall of the government makes it easy to understand certain happenings. Governor Lalji Tandon, who was away in Lucknow on vacation, was alerted and asked to cut short his vacation even before the fall of the government had become certainty. Then the Governor went beyond his powers, specifically laid down in the Constitution and the Rules of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, to fix the agenda of the House for a trust vote. That, though, was rightly ignored by Speaker N P Prajapati. The Governor, showing sickening impatience for trust vote, did not at all show any concern for 22 MLAs being held captive by the BJP in Bengaluru.
The Modi-Shah duo’s hand was more visible in taking care of the things in the Supreme Court where MP Speaker Prajapati’s decision to adjourn the Assembly was challenged. Though in a tearing hurry to get the trust vote over, the Supreme Court practically endorsed the whisking away of 22 MLAs before a trust vote by not giving its ruling on that. This sets a very, very disastrous precedent — disastrous for the democracy and free functioning of the legislatures as it virtually legitimises the muscle and money power. How Prime Minister Narendra Modi allowed coronavirus to spread across the country till the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was removed and a BJP government was installed is so well known now.
A question that will probably remain unanswered is: why Shivraj Singh Chouhan, shrewd as he is, decided to spill the beans that it was the decision of the BJP’s central leadership to topple the Kamal Nath government?
Opinion expressed here are author’s personal one