Major boost to Kamal Nath, 2 BJP MLAs vote for govt’s bill

Two BJP lawmakers stunned their party on Wednesday when they extended support to an amendment to the criminal procedure code in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. “This is my ghar wapsi (homecoming),” one of the two MLAs, Narayan Tripathi, announced soon after.
Tripathi, who had been a Congress legislator, had switched over to the BJP in 2014. The legislator claimed that the second BJP MLA to support the Kamal Nath government’s bill is Sharad Kol.
The two bonus votes for the Congress-led coalition government came hours after a back and forth between chief minister Kamal Nath and the leader of opposition in the assembly Gopal Bhargava over the stability of the coalition.
The BJP’s Gopal Bhargava, speaking against the backdrop of the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka, had claimed that the opposition could pull down the Kamal Nath government at any time. The only reason that the Congress-led coalition had survived was because he hadn’t received his orders from the party leadership in Delhi.
Nath shot back, pointing that this was probably because the party’s top two bosses were “wiser” than he was. He also dared Bhargava to try a no confidence motion against the government if he was so inclined.
The extra vote from the two BJP lawmakers came soon after.
The amendment to the criminal procedure code was supported by 122 MLAs though the state’s ruling coalition only has the support of 120 MLAs (excluding the speaker).
Narayan Tripathi came out in the open soon after. He spoke about how there had been efforts to sabotage his election from within the BJP and how the last Shivraj Chouhan government only made announcements but didn’t deliver. “During the then BJP government, there were only assurances but no development work was done in my constituency Maihar,” he told reporters.
The BJP’s Gopal Bhargava, who was taken aback by the outcome, initially tried to suggest that the party hadn’t issued a whip against the bill and so, the vote really didn’t matter. But the BJP, which has 108 MLAs in the assembly, hadn’t participated in the vote. “We have to see what transpired between them,” he said, when asked about the defection by the MLA.
Kamal Nath was unsparing in his takedown of the state BJP leaders. “Every day the BJP says we are a minority government that can fall any day. Today during voting in the assembly, 2 BJP MLAs voted in favour of our government,” he said.