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In the wake of the political crisis in Madhya Pradesh, former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have filed a petition before the Supreme Court for holding of a floor test in the State Assembly.
Filed by Chouhan and nine other BJP MLAs, the petition points out that the Congress government no longer holds the majority in the state. The Congress had won the elections held in 2018 with 122 seats.
The petition states that on account of the resignation of 22 MLAs of the ruling Congress party, out of which 6 have been accepted by Speaker, the Kamal Nath government has been reduced to a minority.
After the resignation of the MLAs on March 10, the strength of the assembly has been reduced to 222, the petition claims. Subsequently, Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon sent to a letter to Chief Minister Kamal Nath directing him to conduct a floor test and prove his majority.
Despite the Governor's direction, the plea claims, the item for seeking the confidence vote has not been included in the business to be transacted on the floor of the state assembly today. Thus, the petitioners moved the Supreme Court, claiming that the direction of the Governor has been intentionally and wilfully defied.
"It has no moral, legal, democratic or constitutional right to remain in power even for a single day. All possible attempts are being made by the Hon’ble Chief Minister to convert his minority government into majority by giving all possible threats, allurements to the members of the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. The horse-trading is at its peak. Therefore, it is essential that floor test is conducted on 16.3.2020 itself as already directed by Hon’ble Governor, so that it becomes absolutely clear as to whether the Hon’ble Chief Minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the majority of the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha."
Petition filed by Madhya Pradesh BJP MLAs
The petitioners have gone on to cite the Supreme Court's judgment in SR Bommai v. Union of India to state that a Chief Minister's refusal to test his strength on the floor of the assembly can well be interpreted as prima facie proof of his no longer enjoying the confidence of the legislature.
On these grounds, among others, the petitioners have sought that the Supreme Court direct the Kamal Nath government to conduct a floor test within 12 hours of passing an order to that effect.
The petition has been drawn and filed by Advocate Saurabh Mishra.