|March 17, 2020||IANS - Bhopal|
Uncertainty prevailed over Tuesday's floor test of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh. The Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs who were to fly back to Manesar have stayed back at Sehore.
There is, however, no word on 22 Congress MLA who have remained holed up in Bengaluru.
Kamal Nath met the Governor's at Raj Bhawan. After the meeting the Governor Lalji Tandon said he had no problem over the test.
In any case the government is presenting budgetary demands and they will need to be voted. That would amount to a floor test. The BJP has also brought a no-confidence motion against the Congress government and the outcome will also be decided by a floor test.
The Governor had in a fresh letter to the Chief Minister on Monday asked to conduct fresh floor test to prove his majority in the House on Tuesday, failing which it will be assumed that he has lost the majority.
Shortly before the Governor was to start for Vidhan Sabha at 10.50 a.m., he received a letter from the Chief Minister calling his letter ordering a trust vote as unconstitutional.
"It does not lie within the domain of the Governor to interfere with the functions of the Speaker," said the Chief Minister. The Governor is not a guide or advisor to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
"The Governor cannot expect the Speaker to act in the manner in which the Governor thinks constitutionally appropriate. Both the Governor and the Speaker have their own independent constitutional responsibilities," said the Chief Minister's six-page letter.
As the letter war between the top brass continued on Monday the Governor wrote to the Chief Minister taking offence at his expression and language that was conforming to the parliamentary decorum. He said the Chief Minister did not make purposeful effort to seek a trust vote and allowed the House to be adjourned.
The Governor said the Chief Minister cited pronouncements of the Supreme Court that were not relevant in the present context. "It is regrettable that instead of seeking the trust you have responded through a letter and have expressed inability or avoided the floor test. I request you to take the test tomorrow (March 17) failing which it will be assumed you have lost majority."
It all started on Friday night when the Governor, through a semi-official letter asked Nath to take a floor test on Monday. He had observed that prima facie the Kamal Nath government had the majority.
The Governor's observations came in handy for the government to say that he was overlooking the fact the majority could be tested only on the floor of the House. The Vidhan Sabha staff also said the push button system for voting was not functioning.
Apparently on the prompting of the party leaders from the BJP he has also elaborated on the method to be adopted for trust vote. The Vidhan Sabha members' desks are not equipped with push button voting system.
The Governor has specified that if the buttons are not functional no other method should be used except by raising of hands. The Congress members see this as virtual usurping of the Speaker's domain through the Chief Minister.
"The Governor is doing everything short of sitting on the Speaker's chair," says a Congress MLA.
The Leader of the Opposition along with former minister Narottam Mishra met the Governor on Sunday evening to request him about the voting method in the absence of a functional push-button system.
Interestingly the agenda on the opening day's sitting didn't include a floor test. No supplementary list was issued till 11 p.m. on Sunday. Conventionally the Governor can't direct the Speaker as uncertainty prevailed over the method of floor test.