Outgoing Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath tendered his resignation yesterday hours before the scheduled floor test, bringing an end to almost one and a half year of Congress rule. While the downfall of the Kamal Nath regime is a fallout of the fissures between the Old Guard (Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh) and the Jyotiraditya Scindia camp, which ultimately led to Scindia quitting the party triggering resignations of Scindia loyalist MLAs.
With the split between the old guard and Scindia camp bringing down the Congress government and landing the Madhya Pradesh Congress in chaos, it is now Digvijaya Singh who has found an opportunity to rise once again.
He was the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister ten years before he lost to Shivraj Singh Chouhan in 2003. His tenure ended as the CM of a BIMARU Madhya Pradesh. For the last 15 years, he never found an opportunity to rise and was being written off by political analysts, but Singh never really gave up on his political career.
Before the 2018 Assembly polls, it was clear that the Madhya Pradesh Congress was divided into three factions– Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath camps. However, Digvijaya Singh had announced that he was not aspiring for the CM post and had put his weight behind Kamal Nath.
After the Congress came into power, they teamed up against Jyotiraditya Scindia. While Kamal Nath was involved in a bitter tussle with the Scindia dynast, Digvijaya Singh has had historical issues with the Scindia dynasty. Moroever, both of them wanted to project their sons as the future of Madhya Pradesh Congress, and towards that end they wanted the Scindia dynast to be sidelined.
On the face of it, it would seem as if Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath are on really good terms with each other. But in the larger backdrop of their rivalry with Scindia, they have had their own anxious moments.
Before the Lok Sabha polls last year, for instance, Kamal Nath had appealed Digvijaya Singh to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from the “toughest seat” in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Singh was actually made the sacrificial lamb and made to contest from Bhopal against BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya. He suffered a humiliating blow at the hands of Sadhvi Pragya, losing by a massive 3.6 lakh votes.
In fact, the Congress had last won from Bhopal in 1984, and Singh didn’t stand a chance in the poll battle. It seemed that the loss would mean curtains on his political career and he also faced flak for the embarrassing defeat against Sadhvi Pragya, but he didn’t retire from politics altogether.
Now, with Scindia out of the picture, there are essentially only two factions left within the Madhya Pradesh Congress- Digvijaya Singh camp and Kamal Nath camp. The fight for rising to the top of the party structure is between these two veterans.
Digvijaya Singh now has an upper hand, as he gets to be the one who can vilify Jyotiraditya Scindia through allegations of betrayal, but without taking any blame for the split in the party unit. On the other hand, Kamal Nath takes the blame for the downfall of the Congress government.
Remember, it is Kamal Nath who would have lost favour with the Central party leadership, because he was the one who couldn’t keep the House in order. Digvijaya Singh meanwhile was never at the forefront and was looking at the Madhya Pradesh Congress from the sidelines.
Now, Kamal Nath is the one on the downslide as losing the majority the way Kamal Nath lost is embarassing for any Chief Minister. This gives space to Digvijaya Singh to rise in political circles and in all probability he will.