Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has filed nomination papers for Rajya Sabha elections
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh has filed nomination papers for Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for March 26. The veteran Congress leader, who is seeking re-election to the Upper House, will face two BJP candidates in the race for one of three vacant seats from the state, including former Congress Lok Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose dramatic resignation and joining of the BJP this week has left the Kamal Nath government in the state on the brink of collapse.
Mr Scindia was named one of the BJP's nominees mere hours after he joined the party at its headquarters in Delhi on Wednesday. He walked away from the Congress after the party failed to keep its promise of making him a first preference candidate for a Rajya Sabha post.
The second BJP nominee is Sumer Singh Solanki, a member of a tribal community who is also Assistant Professor at a government college in Barwani district. Mr Solanki is also linked to the RSS, the BJP's ideological mentor, as he is the nephew of Makhansingh Solanki, the former BJP Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh's Khargone.
Three Rajya Sabha seats, currently held by Digvijaya Singh and the BJP's Prabhat Jha and Satyanarayan Jatiya, will fall vacant next month.
Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP in Delhi on Wednesday
As per the law, the candidate who gets 58 first preference votes from sitting MLAs will win the election. The Congress earlier had two seats because it had 120 MLAs in the Assembly.
However, following the resignation of 22 lawmakers – flown to BJP-ruled Karnataka on Monday – the number of votes required per first preference has dropped to 52.
This gives the BJP the upper hand, as the Congress now has only 99 MLAs and can elect one member unopposed. The BJP, with 107 MLAs to its name, should be able to win two seats.
This calculation is dependent on Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati accepting the resignation of the 22 MLAs. Yesterday Mr Prajapati said he would go by the rules in this matter and demanded the MLAs meet him in person before he accepted their resignations.
Mr Scindia's resignation, along with that of the 22 MLAs, has left the Kamal Nath government in crisis.
It now has only 99 MLAs, including allies, in a house where the majority mark – if the resignations are accepted – has come down to 104. The BJP with 107 will be the majority and could take power.
A floor test could be held on March 16, senior BJP leader Narottam Mishra, whom sources had linked to attempts to destabilise the Congress government, told reporters today.