As the polling approaches near, the infighting within the Congress is getting more and more intensified. The party has released six lists of the candidates for the MP polls. The party would contest on 229 out of 230 seats leaving the ‘Jatara‘ seat.
The lists exposed the severe infighting and ideological fault lines that exists in the Congress party. Vyapam whistleblower, Dr Anand Rai is upset over not getting ticket despite promises from Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi.
I have not been given a ticket to fight elections even though Rahul Gandhi had assured me of it. It was only because of me that Congress's Sanjeev Saxena (Vyapam accused) was not given a ticket: Dr Anand Rai, Vyapam whistleblower #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/k6mP85ohCT
— ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2018
On Thursday, Nitin Chaturvedi, son of senior Congress leader and former MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi, filed nomination as a Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate from Rajnagar in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. He filed his papers in presence of his father- Satyavrata Chaturvedi. His father said that he still is with the Congress. He further said, “Congress has been repeating the same mistake (of ignoring his son) for 15 years. Doing injustice is sin, and tolerating injustice is equally sinful. So my son took the decision to go to the people’s court.” Satyavrata Chaturvedi continued, “It was Nitin’s own decision to contest on SP ticket. He is adult and a father of two children, so he can take decision on his own. I will help him as much as I can.”
Nitin Chaturvedi claimed that the Congress party has ignored its ground level workers. Nitin’s father, Satyavrata Chaturvedi, is a senior Congress leader who has a national image as he is one of their oldest serving spokespersons.
The Congress party declared the name of Preeti Agnihotri from Indore-1 seat but eventually withdrew it after a massive protest from Sanjay Shukla and his supporters. Sanjay Shukla rebelled and even threatened to field his wife against declared party candidate- Preeti Agnihotri. After massive protest, the Congress party withdrew her name and fielded Sanjay Shukla from Indore-1 seat.
The party also changed its candidate from the Ratlam-Rural seat. Earlier the Congress declared the name of Laxman Singh Dindor (who was a JAYS leader) from the seat but after the protest and rebellion of the workers, it fielded Thavar Lal Bhuria from Ratlam-Rural seat.
The party pitched Arun Yadav as a candidate against CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Budhni assembly seat. Arun Yadav is the eldest son of Late Subhash Yadav, the former deputy CM of Madhya Pradesh. He was state president of the Congress until Kamal Nath replaced him in May. After his removal from the post, Arun was agitated and came into the spotlight when he met Samajwadi President and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav earlier this year. Arun Yadav was a front-runner as possible Congress candidate from Khargone constituency of his home district, but the party had some other plans and declared Ravi Joshi’s name from the seat who had lost in the last state assembly elections. According to ‘The New Indian Express’ report, after Arun Yadav was denied ticket from Khargone seat, speculations were rife about Yadav reaching Bhopal along with brother Sachin Yadav (sitting Congress MLA from Kasrawad seat of Khargone district) and making some crucial political announcements on Friday.
It is believed that party president, Rahul Gandhi has pitched Arun Yadav against CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in order to prevent him to make any announcement which could hurt the party’s electoral prospects . Arun Yadav is one of the senior most Congress leaders of the state, but he doesn’t get along with the others. So they seem to be sacrificing him.
Earlier, the former Congress MP and MLA from the state, Premchand Guddu left the party and joined the BJP. Speaking to Republic TV, Guddu revealed reasons for leaving the Congress and joining hands with the saffron party. He said, “Discrimination is being done against SC/STs and they’re not being involved in any programmes. And I don’t think that they (Congress) want to form a government with the support of the 37-38% SC/STs there. If they manage to keep their 57 seats (in 231-seat assembly), it’ll be a big achievement.” He further said, “I have written hundreds of mails but nobody paid any heed. Keeping 57 seats will also be a problem for them.”
He also lambasted the Congress for the ongoing tussle within the party. Guddu said, “It’s shameful that Raja-Maharajas (Digvijaya is referred to as Raja, Scindia is descendent from the line of Maharajas of Gwalior) have to fight over tickets. Was there one SC/ST neta who was called there? They want to form a government of maharajas and businessmen and loot. We won’t let them.”
According to Republic TV, Scindia had fielded candidates according to his wish in areas; Digvijaya Singh has a stronger clout, as result, the latter raised strong objections against the decision of the former one. Both Scindia and Digvijay argued in the presence of the party President Rahul Gandhi who tried his level best to pacify both of them and said that the prime goal at this point must be to focus on defeating the BJP rather than wasting time and energy infighting within the party. Rahul Gandhi also constituted a three-member committee including senior leaders- Veerappa Moily, Ashok Gehlot, and Ahmed Patel to look after the ticket distribution process.
The Grand Old Party is divided and the BJP being aware of this has attacked the Congress over the ongoing infighting. The BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra mocked the Congress and said, “Rahul is a confused president and under a confused president, the Congress is defused. The kind of infighting within the Congress…Digvijaya Singh takes on Jyotiraditya Scindia openly and that too in front of Rahul Gandhi.” He further said, “The people of this country are not confused. They want a strong government and not a weak government.”