07:40 GMT29 March 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The state government in India’s Madhya Pradesh headed by Congress's Kamalnath hangs in the balance after a prominent member of the party Jyotiraditya Scindia broke away with 22 lawmakers and joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). Congress alleged these lawmakers have been held hostage by the BJP.

    Senior member of Indian opposition Congress Party, Digvijay Singh, was taken under preventive custody by police in the southern city of Bengaluru, where he went to meet rebel party legislators. Twelve other party members who were protesting with him have also been detained by police.

    ​Digvijay Singh had staged a sit-in protest outside a hotel in Bengaluru after he was denied permission to meet the rebel legislators, who are holed up there. Singh was then taken to a local police station where he went on a hunger strike.

    This comes ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday about a petition filed by the former chief of the state, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, who has demanded an immediate floor test for the Chief Kamal Nath-led Congress government to prove a majority in the legislative assembly.

    A political crisis has gripped the Congress-governed northern Indian state of Madhya Pradesh since top functionary Jyotiraditya Scindia deserted the party along with 22 supporting lawmakers and joined the BJP.

    While all 22 rebel legislators have tendered their resignation, only six have been accepted by the speaker of the legislative assembly. Congress alleged that the other 16 legislators have been held hostage in a Bengaluru hotel by the BJP.

    While the governor of the state Lalji Tandon had asked the state Chief Kamalnath to win a fresh vote of confidence in the legislative assembly, the speaker suspended the house until 26 March, postponing the floor test, citing the threat of COVID-19.

    Meanwhile, former Chief of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan of the BJP has gone before the apex court seeking an immediate vote. The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up the issue on Wednesday.

    Chauhan said that the current government in Madhya Pradesh would certainly fall and the BJP has the required numbers to form a government.

    Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has been a member of Congress for 18 years, left the party on 10 March and joined the BJP stating that “it was time to move on”. The BJP has now nominated him to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament in the biennial elections. 

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