Déjà vu for Madhya Pradesh Congress as Tussle between Scindia and Digvijaya Singh Keeps Party on Toes
File photo of Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. (PTI photo)
Bhopal: Lobbying for the post of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief is intensifying with both Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia factions putting pressure on the party for a ‘favourable decision.’
The Digvijaya Singh group is demanding to either crown ‘Raja of Raghogarh’ or any of his loyalists as chief, while the Scindia lobby has also been making similar demands. Scindia is said to be camping in New Delhi.
On Friday, Scindia supporters raised slogans in his favour at the party office. Datia Congress president Ashok Dangi, a staunch Scindia loyalist, also tendered resignation opposing delay in Scindia’s elevation in MPCC. The leader threatened that hundreds of workers would resign and would stage dharna at 24 Akbar Road if Scindia wasn’t promoted in party organisation soon.
Several Scindia loyalist ministers, including Imarti Devi, have backed his candidature openly in the last few days.
A video of Scindia offering cryptic response to queries on him being in touch with BJP has also been making rounds. In Ujjain, at Mahakal temple, Scindia had declined to reply the query saying he was in temple and talking politics there wasn’t a great idea. The political circles in Madhya Pradesh are abuzz with reports that Scindia could switch over to the BJP if not promoted to MPCC chief’s post.
Meanwhile, on Friday Chief Minister Kamal Nath called on Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi in the backdrop of latest developments.
Nath’s Delhi trip was also said to be linked with Scindia who had made it clear before the party high command that ‘he had options’ if he wasn’t elevated to the post of MPCC chief, a goal seemingly difficult for him with the strong intervention from party veteran Digvijaya Singh.
Singh, who is said to be having a considerable say in Kamal Nath government, is reportedly planning to have one of his own men to be crowned PCC chief and is said to be lobbying for former Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh.
Singh had put hurdles in Scindia’s way of becoming Chief Minister last year when he was leading the party charge against Shivraj Singh Chouhan, but suddenly trumped him bringing in veteran Kamal Nath as the PCC chief who went on to assume office as the chief minister.
Singh backing old loyalist Ajay Singh for the PCC chief was evident when the senior leader visited his bungalow in Bhopal on Tuesday. The visit was followed by one and a half Congress MLAs—mostly Digvijaya loyalists, flocking the same bungalow on Wednesday.
Though Ajay Singh speaking to News18 had claimed that he wasn’t in the hunt for the PCC chief and the final decision would be taken by Sonia Gandhi.
This was also followed by unfounded rumours that Digvijaya Singh himself had emerged among claimants of the coveted post.
The enmity between Scindias and Digvijaya Singh dates back to 1993 when Jyotiraditya’s father, Madhav Rao, was sure to be appointed Madhya Pradesh chief minister. However, Singh had joined hands with senior leader Arjun Singh--father of Ajay Singh-- and Nath to trump him and became the chief minister.
After assuming office, Singh had made it a point to side-line Scindia loyalists. It was also evident in the cabinet berths as Arjun Singh camp had received lion’s share of 24 ministerial berths, VC Shukla camp nine and Scindia camp only two.
The skewed berth allocation was also talk of the town when Congress returned to power in MP in 2018 and chunk of ministerial berths went to Kamal Nath-Digvijaya supporters. In the run up to polls, Scindia and Digvijaya reportedly had a heated argument in front of Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi over ticket distribution.
Digvijaya Singh’s family owned a land within the Scindia empire before independence. Same was the case with Arjun Singh who owned a small princely state at Churhat in Sidhi district. As Nath kept switching his allegiance between both the camps in last few years, Scindia and Digvijaya Singh have been considered opposite poles in MP Congress.
It was a co-incidence that Scindia started taking up the ladders in national politics no sooner than Rahul Gandhi took charge in Congress and it was the same duration Digvijaya Singh started losing relevance with Gandhis and was eventually shifted base to MP ahead of assembly polls in the state last year after he was stripped of responsibilities of states like Goa, Telangana and Karnataka one-by-one.
Party insiders believe Digvijaya Singh seem lobbying for Ajay Singh but he hasn’t disapproved his own candidature publically and internally is keen on taking on the mantle.
Meanwhile CM Kamal Nath who is known to be an old loyalist of Gandhis especially Sonia Gandhi is also keen to have his man Bala Bachchan, a tribal as the PCC chief to have hassle free functioning in the party organisation. Nath sources believe could prefer Scindia over Digvijaya Singh if given the choice between the two by party high command.
With the three party seniors lobbying hard for the post of MPCC president, it would be a tough ask for Sonia Gandhi who has just taken over the mantle of a party in tatters from son Rahul who was hell-bent on keeping Gandhis away from the party day-to-day functioning.