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Jyotiraditya Scindia Emerges as Congress CM Face in Madhya Pradesh, Old Guards Pass on the Baton

File photo of Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia.

File photo of Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia.

The announcement was made by senior party leader and former Union minister Kamal Nath in Guna region of Madhya Pradesh.

Guna (MP): Jyotiraditya Scindia, 46, has emerged as the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate in Madhya Pradesh, marking a generational shift in its politics.

Speaking to reporters in Scindia’s Lok Sabha constituency Guna on Wednesday, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said, "I have said it and you must have also read that Scindiaji should be the CM candidate”.

This sets at rest the controversy over handing over the reins of the party in MP to the next generation.

Kamal Nath’s statement endorsing Scindia’s candidature also ends months of suspense within the Congress on who would be the face of the party in 2018 to take on the BJP government led by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The BJP has won three consecutive elections in Madhya Pradesh since 2003 when Uma Bharti defeated Digvijaya Singh in a direct fight.

The announcement by Kamal Nath indicates the Congress has finally settled its leadership issues in Madhya Pradesh.

Both Nath and Scindia were seen as top contenders for the CM’s post for the upcoming polls. And it was expected that Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi would make a formal announcement in this regard after his tour of the US.

Kamal Nath indicated his intent of conceding the leadership is being seen as the first major step towards putting its own house in order in MP.

Later in the day, senior leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and state unit chief Arun Yadav are expected to travel to Ratlam to pay tribute to former minister Mahendra Singh Kalukheda who was also very close to the Scindia family.

Kamal Nath’s statement comes just ahead of former MP chief minister Digvijaya Singh embarking on Narmada Yatra starting this Saturday.

The circumambulation of the river will take Singh to over 100 constituencies in the state in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

Though Singh has maintained all along that the yatra is a personal and spiritual journey, speculation has been rife in state politics on whether the former CM would use the long-drawn travel to mobilse support.

Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra told News18 that any calls for unity are welcome and “ultimately it would be a decision which would be announced by the high command”.

BJP spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya also declined to draw much from Nath’s statement. “Nath presently is an MP so his views can’t be taken as the Congress party’s views,” he said.