Kamal Nath has written to Governor Lalji Tandon, saying that it “does not lie within the domain of the Governor to interfere with the functions of the Speaker”.
The Governor had asked the Speaker to hold a floor test on Monday after the resignation of 22 Congress MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia last week has brought the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government on the brink of collapse.
On Sunday, the state cabinet had asked Chief Minister Kamal Nath to take a call on the issue, contending that the letter by the Governor holds no constitutional validity as he cannot direct the state assembly.
In case the government does not initiate the issue, the opposition can move a “no confidence motion” against the government. After a meeting with the Governor that ran past midnight, Mr Nath told journalists that the Speaker would take a call on today’s voting.
In his letter, Mr Nath said to the Governor: “The Governor cannot require the Speaker to discharge his functions in the manner he considers constitutionally appropriate.”
The Congress has 108 MLAs in the House, and the support of seven allied legislators. If the resignations of all 22 MLAs are accepted, the Congress’s strength will come way below the new majority mark of 104, and the BJP, with 107 MLAs, can form government.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s government initially had 120 MLAs – just four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly.