How BJP is Emulating Op Lotus From Karnataka in Madhya Pradesh

The total strength of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly is 230 and any party or coalition requires 116 seats to form govt.

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India
3 min read
In a drastic political development in the state of Madhya Pradesh, eight MLAs of the Congress-led government are allegedly being ‘held against their will’ at a hotel in Gurugram by the BJP, the ruling party has claimed.
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In a drastic political development in the state of Madhya Pradesh, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday, 2 March, said BJP leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narottam Mishra were trying to lure Madhya Pradesh Congress MLAs by offering Rs 25-35 crore.

The BJP has denied these allegations, but it has caused an unrest in political circles. The entire episode is looked at as a repetition of the political drama that unfolded in Karnataka during 2019 that led to the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government.

“Operation Lotus” is the term used for the strategy used the BJP to form a government if the they don’t have enough numbers to prove majority. The term is now being used in the context of Madhya Pradesh. So, here is how “Operation Lotus” works and how it can be used in Madhya Pradesh by the BJP.

Operation Lotus: The Strategy

Operation Lotus refers to a BJP strategy to come to power in states where it doesn't have enough seats to form the government, by either buying out or “influencing" Opposition MLAs. How do they do this?

First, they establish contact with the MLAs, and after some “influence” they’re made to resign. What happens when they resign from the Assembly? The Assembly’s size falls, and this brings down the halfway mark.

To give an example, in 2019, the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka had 118 seats in the Karnataka Assembly. The BJP, along with two independents, held 106 seats. In Karnataka, the Assembly has 224 seats and to form the government, a party or a coalition needs 113 seats.

But then the BJP convinced 17 coalition MLAs to resign. This resulted in Karnataka Assembly’s total strength falling from 224 to 207 and the halfway mark to form the government became 104. The BJP called for a trust vote and toppled the government.

The Numbers Game in Madhya Pradesh

The total strength of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly is 230 and any party or coalition requires 115 seats to form a government.

However, at the moment, there are two vacant seats in the Assembly, while one BSP MLA has been suspended. This brings down the total Assembly strength to 227, making the halfway mark 114.

If the BJP wants to emulate the Karnataka model in Madhya Pradesh, they will have to ensure that 14 MLAs from the Congress or their allies resign. Source-based information available on media suggests there are eight MLAs holed up in a resort in Gurgaon and Bengaluru.

The Congress has 114 legislators. The party is also supported by one MLA from the Samajwadi Party (SP), two from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and four Independents. This takes the Congress’ total number to 121. But the number has now become 120, since one BSP MLA is suspended.

And if the 14 MLAs resign, this strength will drop to 106 and they will lose the majority.

So What Is the Crisis in MP?

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and Home Minister Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in Delhi on Tuesday, 10 March. This comes after 24 MLAs, including 6 ministers, close to Scindia were shifted to Bengaluru. They are expected to submit their resignations to the Speaker on Tuesday.

With 24 MLAs ready to resign, the BJP has 10 more MLAs than the required 14. If these 24 MLAs resign, the BJP will be able to form the government. However, they will have to contest a by-election on BJP ticket and win these seats to retain power.

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