Kamal Nath links timing of COVID-19 lockdown with the downfall of his government in Madhya Pradesh; BJP rubbishes charge

Lalit Shastri

Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon addressed the opening day of Budget session of Madhya Pradesh Pradesh Assembly on 16 March 2020. Kamal Nath chose to turn down the Governor’s instruction and did not go for a floor test that day. He resigned as Chief Minister four days later on 20 March. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn-in as Chief Minister on 23 March.

When the country is locked in a battle with COVID-19, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Sunday, 12 April 2020, made a futile bid to take political mileage by going tongs and hammers against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the nationwide lockdown to combat COVID-19 had been timed to ensure his government’s falls in Madhya Pradesh with the help of more than a dozen-and-half ruling party MLAs, who according to him, “were flown to Bengaluru in private jets paid for by the BJP, kept in a resort guarded by the Karnataka Police and were incentivised to cross-over to the BJP”.

The BJP has described as baseless and rubbished Kamal Nath’s accusation that the announcement of a 21-day nation-wide lockdown by the PM on 24 March was timed to overthrow the Kamal Nath Government.

Speaking live through video conferencing (a footage widely televised on Sunday) Kamal Nath appeared flustered and used a language that no cultured person would ever use when speaking about the State Governor (“Rajyapal floor test ki baat kar raha tha” – watch from 3.14 mts). He sounded less rustic and more frustrated as he conjecturally concluded and equated his own downfall and waterloo with the timing of the lockdown. He said they were waiting for the exit of a democratically elected government, swearing-in of Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Chief Minister on 23 March before clamping the lockdown.

In his video conference, Kamal Nath also lost track of dates and said that he had resigned on 16 March (watch video from1.06 mts and once again at 2.43 mts), whereas in fact he had quit office 4 days later, on 20 March, without facing a trial of strength in the Assembly on Supreme Court’s orders. This was after he had avoided a floor test on 16 March – the opening day of the Budget Session.

Kamal Nath’s allegation is obviously warped, twisted and politically motivated. He appears bent upon spreading misinformation since the Prime Minister, in his televised message to the people of India on March 19, had warned about the Coronavirus pandemic by making an appeal and telling the elderly, senior citizens and those above 65 years of age “not to leave homes for the next few weeks”. He had also announced that on Sunday 22 March, all citizens must abide by a people’s curfew from 7 AM until 9 PM. During this curfew, they were neither to leave their homes, nor get onto the streets or roam about their localities. Only those associated with emergency and essential services were told to leave their homes. Modi had also underscored that complacency in respect of a global pandemic like Corona was not appropriate. Therefore, it was essential that each and every Indian remained alert and cautious.

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