Bhopal The Madhya Pradesh Assembly was on Monday adjourned till March 26, the polling day for Rajya Sabha, over the Coronavirus scare. The Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati invoked the Article 397(2A) citing fear of epidemic to adjourn the proceedings.
Since the Governor had read the address presented to him by the Congress, the treasury benches have been taking that he acknowledged the validity of the government till he started the address. However, the governor went beyond the address to say that both sides should realise their responsibilities.
Soon after the adjournment of the House, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh went to meet the governor.
The BJP MLAs led by the party state unit president V.D. Sharma and senior leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also met the Governor. The party is expected to parade all its MLAs and demand imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
The BJP has in the meantime also moved the Supreme Court in Delhi against the government’s defiance of the Governor’s orders to hold the floor test in the Assembly soon after his address.
The Kamal Nath government may have weathered the storm for now. But can it hold off the challenge for long? BJP claims that the government has been rendered unconstitutional.
The government’s plans to distribute N-95 masks to all the MLAs gave ample hint of its plans of curtailing the session over COVID-19 fear.
Chief minister Kamal Nath’s post-midnight meeting with Governor Lalji Tandon late on Sunday night seems to have set the two key constitutional bigwigs on collision course. Speaker N.P. Prajapati has by selective acceptance of resignations hinted at intrigues in store. Only six of the 22 Congress legislators’ resignations, sent through BJP members, were accepted so far.
Kamal Nath had called on the Governor and the meeting ended around 12.30 am. Nath said the governor asked for smooth conduct of state assembly proceedings. The chief minister said he would convey the governor’s wishes to the Speaker on Monday morning.
The interesting part is that the chief minister has been reduced to a messenger between the Speaker and the Governor as the governor’s role is limited in the conduct of House and the Speaker’s authority can’t be infringed.
In a first of its kind, the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 6,000 people worldwide and two in India so far, has come to the rescue of a government.
Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati used the scare of the coronavirus to adjourn the Assembly session till March 26, the day of the voting for the Rajya Sabha elections.
The Speaker invoked a law to adjourn the proceedings.
The government also distributed N-95 masks to all the MLAs over the fear of COVID-19.
Though the BJP has moved the Supreme Court against the Speaker’s decision, the Kamal Nath government seems to have got a breather at least for the time being.
Madhya Pradesh minister Sachin Yadav said that it is the central government which has issued advisories to all states in view of the spread of COVID-19. The Madhya Pradesh government is also on alert due to the outbreak of the epidemic and that is why the Assembly has been adjourned till March 26, he said.
Governor Lalji Tandon had asked the government to prove its majority on the floor of the House just after his address, but the Speaker adjourned the house till March 26.
Sources said that if the floor test was allowed to take place on Monday, the Kamal Nath government was not in a position to prove its majority. The government strategists then thought of using the coronavirus outbreak to go for an adjournment and buy some time.