13 of the 22 rebel Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh don't want to quit the party, Digvijaya Singh said.
Thirteen of the 22 rebel Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh don't want to quit the party and were led away only to create pressure on the leadership to nominate Jyotiraditya Scindia to the Rajya Sabha, senior party leader Digvijaya Singh claimed on Wednesday.
He also asserted that the Kamal Nath-led government in the state, pushed to the brink of collapse with the resignation of 22 MLAs, will win a floor test.
Mr Singh said Mr Scindia was offered the post of Madhya Pradesh deputy chief minister in 2018 when the party won the state elections but wanted his nominee appointed.
However, this was rejected by Kamal Nath as he didn't want a "chela" (disciple) in that position, Mr Singh told PTI in an interview.
"The CM said he does not have any issue with Scindia becoming the deputy CM but told him, ''if you want your ''chela'' to become deputy CM, then that will not happen''. Kamal Nath then took six of his (Scindia''s) supporters in the cabinet," Mr Singh revealed.
Two-three ministers close to Mr Scindia, as well as 10 of the rebel MLAs have given an assurance they are not leaving the Congress, he said.
"They were taken to Bengaluru to put pressure on the Congress to give Scindia a Rajya Sabha berth," Mr Singh said.
"All the 22 MLAs, but for five or six, are Congress members who have been in Mr Scindia's group since Mr. Madhavrao Scindia''s time. So, all those people were there with him because they were with the Congress party," he added.
Mr Singh said the party is in touch with the families of the MLAs.
"We are not keeping quiet. We are not sleeping," he declared.
Alleging the BJP's hand behind the crisis, he said the party''s leaders carried the resignations of the Congress MLAs. Also, the BJP chartered flights to ferry Congress MLAs in two batches to Bengaluru, he claimed.
"It is all engineered, sponsored and paid for by the BJP… all part of the BJP''s Operation Moneybag," he said and added that the phones of the rebel MLAs have been taken away and their conversations with family members are being recorded.
Mr Singh admitted that the party did not anticipate that Scindia would leave the Congress to join the BJP and described the move as his "ati-mahatvakansha", or his over-ambition.
"We did not anticipate that Scindia will quit the Congress… that was a mistake. Someone who has got so much from the party – four-time MP, twice minister in Union Cabinet, Congress Working Committee member and party general secretary," he said.
"The Congress could have easily sent him to the Rajya Sabha with 122 MLAs on its side. But we could not have made him a cabinet minister. Only Modi-Shah can make (him) a cabinet minister not us," he added.