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Congress' Victory in MP's Ater a Boost Before Assembly Elections

It was a photo finish for Congress in the Ater by-elections in MP, but for the party in the wilderness for over a decade in the state, it presented a positive picture.

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18pallavighcnnibn

Updated:April 13, 2017, 8:39 PM IST
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Congress' Victory in MP's Ater a Boost Before Assembly Elections
Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia talks to the media during the Parliament Session in New Delhi.
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It was a photo finish for Congress in the Ater by-elections in MP, but for the party in the wilderness for over a decade in the state, it presented a positive picture.

The state goes to polls later this year, and the congress, desperate for an electoral win in these polls, hopes to unseat the 3-time chief minister Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan.

PCC chief and a front-runner as a CM face Jyotiraditya Scindia told news18.com, "I thank the people of Ater and the election commission for the free and fair polls, and yes, it gives us confidence that congress will come back to power in the state."

But it's not going to be an easy fight. First, Chauhan enjoys immense popularity and despite the Vyapam controversy, he remains untouched.

The RSS cadre is very strong in the state and for the Congress, it's an immense challenge as the party has a poor organisational infrastructure.

Worse, it's a deeply divided congress with too many big heads. Three-time CM Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Arun Yadav, and Scindia - all are contenders.

In the last polls, the picture for Congress looked bright. Sonia had cracked the whip, asking the party to fight it together. Yet, the cracks within couldn't be covered and the congress lost once again.

Sonia slowly pushed Digvijaya Singh out of the state by handing over the charge of states like Goa, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. She hoped this would keep Digvijaya busy. But with his son now in active politics, the love for his son makes it difficult for the raja to stay away.

Kamal Nath remains the undisputed king of Chindwara and Gondh Area. Upset at not being at the centre of Congress strategy and also for not being made the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, Kamal Nath nurtures a desire to be the state CM.

It's clear, though, that Rahul and Sonia prefer Scindia. He is young, intelligent, and carries no baggage. Made the PCC chief, Scindia has hit the road but faces resentment from within his party.
Acknowledging the fissures in state Congress, Scindia told news18,

"This win shows that a united Congress can win. And if we all are in it together, we can win the assembly polls."

But for a party that has a crab mentality, this is easier said than done.

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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