With political crisis heating up in Maharshtra, the political parties have resorted to “resort politics after senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde rebelled against the party and herded some MLAs to BJP-ruled Gujarat, putting a huge question mark on the stability of the two and-a-half-year-old Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
“Resort politics” refers to the many instances in Indian politics where MLAs are sent to luxury resorts, either to cause or prevent a sudden transfer of power. Let us look at some of the resort politics that happened in India.
Maharashtra 2022, 2019 and 2002: The 2022 resort politics episode in June is the latest in which Shiv Sena rebellion leader Shinde fled to Gujarat with about 45 MLA. In 2019, Shiv Sena broke away from the BJP and joined hands with Congress-NCP to form the government in Maharashtra. On November 25, on the eve of the Supreme Court’s decision on the parties’ petition seeking a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly, a large group of Shiv-Sena-NCP-Congress M AS— claiming to be 102 — assembled at a Mumbai hotel in a show of strength. In 2002, then-Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh sent his MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru to prevent them from joining the Shiv Sena-BJP opposition.
Tamil Nadu, 2017: Edappadi Palaniswami, who was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in February 2017, won the trust vote in the Assembly, where 122 MLAs voted for him, while 11 voted for O Panneerselvam. Panneerselvam had resigned from chief ministership in 2017 and accused AIADMK leader VK Sasikala of coercing him into it. Subsequently, Sasikala sent her MLAs to a resort near Chennai.
Uttarakhand, 2016: The BJP flew its MLAs to a hotel in Jaipur ahead of an Assembly floor test by former chief minister Harish Rawat,
Bihar, 2000: In 2000, Nitish Kumar, leader of the Janata Dal (United), was appointed chief minister for a period of seven days before he lost the trust vote. During this time, the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal sent their members to a hotel in Patna, fearing defection.
Uttar Pradesh, 1998: In 1998, Congress’s Jagdambika Pal was appointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for 48 hours after the Governor dismissed the BJP government led by Kalyan Singh. As the floor test was pending, the BJP flew its MLAs to an isolated place, after which, Singh came back and won the confidence vote.
Gujarat, 1995: In October 1995, Keshubhai Patel lost his chief ministership to Suresh Mehta. This was a result of the ‘Khajuraho scandal -MLAs taken off to Khajuraho — orchestrated by Shankarsinh Vaghela with the support of over 44 MLAs. However, Mehta was displaced by Vaghela in 1996, when the latter formed the Rashtriya Janata Party and formed the government with Congress support.
Andhra Pradesh, 1984 and 1995: In 1984, Nadend la Bhaskara Rao toppled the NTR government with the support of the Congress. At the time, then Andhra Pradesh chief minister NT Rama Rao was out of the country and in his absence, the governor installed Bhaskara Rao as the chief minister. Because of the ensuing internal conflicts, Rao sent his MLAs to Bengaluru, before they were moved to Dehi. Even so, the government collapsed and Rao was back in power within two months. In 1995, NTR’s son-in-law N Chandrababu Naidu wanted to oust NTR from the party and sent the MLAs loyal to him to the Viceroy Hotel in Hyderabad so that he could take over the party.
Karnataka, 1983 and 2019: In 1983, chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde had to save his government from being dissolved by Indira Gandhi. For this, he sent his MLAS to a luxury resort on the outskirts of Bangalore. In July 2019, the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government defeated the Congress-JDS coalition in a trust vote. In order to keep their MLAs in check, the Congress, JD(S) and the BJP moved their legislators to various resorts.
Haryana In 1982, after the elections, despite not having enough seats, Governor G.D. Tapase invited the Congress to form the government, ignoring the INLD-BJP combine. The then-INLD chief Devi Lal took his 48 MLAs, both from the INLD and the BJP, and holed up with them in a hotel in New Delhi. The Congress went on to form the government anyway.