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How Kamal Nath government outfoxed BJP in MP

A record of the assembly proceedings, seen by ET, shows how BJP was outfoxed, with two of its MLAs jumping ship to vote for the ruling Congress.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 26, 2019, 08.16 AM IST
The Speaker put the bill to division and announced 122 votes in its favour and none against.
NEW DELHI: Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Sanjeev Singh Sanju, who was the only one in the Madhya Pradesh assembly pressing for a division of votes on Wednesday saying some provisions of a Bill in question required amendments, ultimately voted in the favour of the Kamal Nath government.

It all happened in the last 43 minutes on the last day of the assembly session, when BJP leaders spoke in favour of an amendment Bill brought by the government, a BSP MLA differed and asked for a division and the treasury benches, rather surprisingly, supported his demand despite vociferous protest from the BJP. A record of the assembly proceedings of Wednesday, seen by ET, shows how the BJP was out-foxed with two of its MLAs jumping ship to vote for the ruling Congress.

It was at 4:43 pm when the government introduced the criminal law amendment Bill and BJP leaders Kedarnath Shukla and Gopal Bhargava spoke on it at length saying it was a “good Bill”, “needed in today’s times” and could be passed unanimously. BSP’s Sanju stood up, saying he felt some of the Bill’s provisions required amendments and he wanted a division. Sanju repeated his demand seven times, with Congress MLAs saying his demand must be respected “in the temple of democracy”.

“A party with two votes is seeking division when 222 MLAs are supporting the Bill … this is a joke. History is being created,” said BJP MLA Kamal Patel. Shukla asked why he was pressing for a division when there was no protest towards the Bill. “Does this mean that the BSP has withdrawn support for the government? One to two hours will be wasted. Our former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan wants to have a debate on important issues of farmers. The Congress just wants to delay that,” Bhargava said.

Minister Sajjan Singh Verma said the farmer discussion could be held after the voting. “Even if one MLA is not agreeable to the Bill, he has the full freedom to lay forward his views in the temple of democracy. We are ready for a division,” Verma said, and he was soon backed by other senior ministers like PC Sharma and Govind Singh. “A joke is being made of the Vidhan Sabha,” BJP’s Bhargava said, as the speaker put the Bill to division.

As soon as the speaker announced 122 votes were cast in favour of passing the Bill and none against it, Govind Singh announced to the house that he wanted to thank two BJP MLAs, Narayan Tripathi and Sharad Kol, for voting for the government. “What you did in Karnataka, this is a reply for that,” Singh told Bhargava. At 5:17 pm, Singh moved a proposal for adjourning the house indefinitely as all business was complete. It adjourned at 5:26 pm.

It is now being questioned by some in the BJP on why the party did not walk out of the house when division was ordered, as the opposition did not vote. The discussion on farmers that Chouhan wanted, meanwhile, did not happen.

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