Set to sweep Madhya Pradesh, BJP seeks Nath's resignation

With the BJP leading in 28 out of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh, the state unit of the opposition party Thursday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who is heading the Congress government in the state since December last year.

State BJP chief Rakesh Singh said the counting trends indicate an overwhelming mandate in favour of the BJP, which lost power in Madhya Pradesh in the Assembly polls held late last year.

In the Assembly polls, the Congress won 114 of the state's 230 seats, two short of the majority mark of 116. The BJP, which ruled the state since 2003 before being ousted from power, bagged 109 seats.

The Bahujan Samaj Party, which has two MLAs, and the Samajwadi Party, which has one legislator, are supporting the Congress government besides four Independent lawmakers.

"Nath should resign, not on moral ground but due to the overwhelming people's mandate in favour of the BJP in the state," Singh told PTI as trends from counting centres indicated landslide victory for the saffron party.

He said even Congress stalwarts have failed to withstand the saffron surge in Madhya Pradesh.

"Out of the 'three Chief Ministers', two - Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia - are almost certain to lose elections (from Bhopal and Guna Lok Sabha constituencies, respectively)," he added.

In run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had said Madhya Pradesh was being run by "three chief ministers" (a reference to Nath, Scindia and Digvijay Singh) and officials were in a dilemma over whom to take orders from.

"Neither the Congress won the MP assembly polls last year, nor we lost it," said the BJP leader, referring to the close contest between the two parties.

The BJP won half a per cent more vote share than the Congress, but failed to bag enough seats to retain power in the state.

Nath Wednesday claimed 10 of his MLAs have told him that they were receiving phone calls and being offered money and posts to switch sides.

However, he had expressed complete faith in his party's MLAs.

His statement came after the BJP said the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh was in a minority.

Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava of the BJP Monday wrote a letter to Governor Anandiben Patel, requesting her to convene a special session of the Assembly to test the Congresss legislative strength on the floor of the House.