MP no-trust motion fails as Congress leader plays Brutus

Amid high drama, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly was today adjourned sine die without taking up a no-confidence motion against the BJP government as deputy leader of Opposition Congress revolted and thwarted discussion before joining the ruling party.

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government pulled off a coup of sorts in an election year as it poached Chaudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi, deputy leader of the main Opposition Congress legislature party who blocked the debate on the no-trust motion, second since November 2011, and later announced his decision to quit the party.

Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh termed Chaturvedi's action as reminiscent of "Brutus", Roman Republic politician Marcus Brutus, who was responsible for the assassination of the Republic's dictator Julius Caesar, and accused him of entering into a "big deal" with BJP.

Singh said his party would pass a resolution to expel Chaturvedi from Congress and forward it to central leaders.

Chaos prevailed in the House when Singh rose to speak on the motion and Chaturvedi pointed out the "flaws" in it.

Chaturvedi said even now 721 pilgrims who had gone to Uttarakhand were missing and this had not been mentioned in the motion.

The issue involving former finance minister Raghavji, arrested for allegedly sodomising his domestic help, was also missing from the motion, he said and referred to a tweet by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh criticising Raghavji.

Quickly capitalising on the division in Congress, Industries Minister Kailash Vijaywargia said the no-confidence motion had "come to nought" as even the Congress deputy leader expressed lack of faith in it.

Soon, BJP members were on their feet, shouting slogans against the motion.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said there was no point in discussing the no-confidence motion as the Congress deputy leader had expressed strong reservations about it.

As the ruling party members raised a din, Ajay Singh said BJP MLAs were shouting as they "do not have the guts to listen to the charges contained in the no-confidence motion."

When the decibel levels continued to rise, Speaker Ishwar Das Rohani adjourned the House for 30 minutes.

However, when noisy scenes erupted once again after the House reassembled, the Speaker said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra had informed him that all official business had been completed. "Hence the House stands adjourned indefinitely," he announced.

Later, addressing the media in the presence of the Chief Minister and state BJP chief Narendra Singh Tomar, Chaturvedi announced his decision to join the ruling party.
Chaturvedi said he had spoken against the no-trust motion "as a matter of principle".
He said he was hurt by Digvijay Singh's tweet made in the context of the episode involving Raghavji which he felt was derogatory to Lord Ram as "I am a Hindu".

Chaturvedi's father, Dilip Singh had been elected to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on a BJP ticket in 1980 and late Rajmata Vijyaraje Scindia of Gwalior had hand-picked him to contest the elections.

Welcoming Chaturvedi into BJP, Chouhan praised him for taking a big decision risking his political career.

Ajay Singh, however, assailed Chaturvedi, calling him "Brutus".

Singh said Chaturvedi had not even once discussed with him issues he raised in the House when the debate on the motion was about to begin.

"I was not aware that my own party leader will hit me in the back with a knife," the Leader of Opposition told reporters after the assembly was adjourned.

He alleged that since the BJP had no answer to the charges listed by him in the motion against the Chief Minister, his wife, and brothers, it had "conspired" with Chaturvedi. "The people of Bhind (Chaturvedi's constituency) and Madhya Pradesh will soon teach him a lesson," he said.

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