Madhya Pradesh will be going to polls this November. With elections around the corner, there should have been ongoing preparations to go head-on with the Shivraj Singh Chouhan led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state. But the Congress, as of now is facing a battle of its own, and this infighting is bound to hurt the prospects of Congress in the upcoming assembly elections. In Madhya Pradesh, the party is divided into three factions- Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijay Singh and Kamal Nath. While the Congress continues to battle chronic factionalism in the state unit, with internal rebellion brewing, it seems they face difficulties in stitching up alliances. This abject failure will only add insult to the injury. First they failed to make coalitions with the BSP and SP, and now they are facing difficulties in stitching up an alliance with Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS).
INC currently is in alliance talks with JAYS, a budding tribal political outfit. But Kukshi seat of Dhar constituency in Western Madhya Pradesh has become an ‘apple of discord’ between the two, as both the parties want to contest from Kukshi constituency. The Congress party does not want to abdicate Kukshi seat. The Congress party has won this seat 10 times. The constituency has been lost only thrice in 1962, 1990, and in 2012 by-polls. The INC is not at all ready to relinquish its traditional stronghold.
The incumbent MLA from Kukshi seat, Congress’ Surendra Singh Baghel said that he is all set to contest from this very seat and also expressed confidence that he would emerge victorious with a huge margin. The Firstpost quoted another Congress leader saying, “Kukshi is our traditional seat and we can’t let it go so easily.”
On Friday, JAYS convener Dr Hiralal Alawa while talking to PTI said, “Our seat-sharing talks with the Congress are underway. We want to contest the upcoming election from 40 assembly constituencies. Fighting from Kukshi due to our strong presence there is top on our agenda.”
The Firstpost has quoted another JAYS leader saying, “We have categorically told the Congress that we want to contest from Kukshi. The fate of alliance depends on this seat. If the Congress is adamant for this seat, then the alliance talks might even fail.” He further added, “We have already demonstrated our strength in Kukshi by organising Kisan Panchayat programme on 2nd October. Over one lakh tribal youths had taken part in the event.”
The JAYS has its influence in 22 tribal seats spread across Alirajpur, Ratlam, Jhabua, Dhar, Khargone, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Dewas and Barwani districts in Malwa-Nimar region of western MP, which has significant tribal presence. 22 seats are enough to turn elections in favor or against anyone. Of these 22 seats, only five seats are in INC’s tally. The state leadership of the INC is desperate to stitch up an alliance with the JAYS to counter BJP’s influence in Malwa-Nimar region. This region has 66 assembly seats and only nine 9 seats are with the Congress; the BJP has its legislators on 56 seats in the region. So, the BJP seems way ahead of Congress with a huge margin.
With the larger parties like SP and BSP already dumping the INC, smaller parties like JAYS too are putting a hard bargain considering almost negligent appeal of the Congress. Main reasons behind this are: the weakening of the local units of the INC, a disinterested central leadership looking for shortcuts to grab the power making the matter worse and an electorate looking for alternatives has contributed to the debacle of the Congress party.