The Madhya Pradesh Congress unit remains a divided lot, even after the exit of the Scindia camp more than a couple of months ago. When Kamal Nath was the Chief Minister, the Madhya Pradesh Congress was divided between the Old guard, led by Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, and the Scindia camps. Now, the Old guard- the Digvijaya Singh camp and the Kamal Nath camp are involved in a bitter tussle.
Even 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. After the grand old party had come to power, the old guard came together to keep the Scindia dynast, Jyotiraditya Scindia, at bay. Both of them wanted to project their own sons as the future of Madhya Pradesh Congress and thus wanted Jyotiraditya Scindia sidelined.
But now that Jyotiraditya Scindia and his camp has switched over to the BJP, the real struggle is once again happening between the Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh camps. According to the latest Jagran report, the two camps are at loggerheads with each other ahead of the Assembly bypolls in 24 constituencies in the state.
Moreover, the issue of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee President and Leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly is also hanging in the balance. Currently, both the key posts are occupied by Kamal Nath.
According to Jagran, the tussle between the two camps has intensified to the extent that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) had to appoint 11 district-level party presidents in the state. Generally, these appointments are made by the party’s state unit, but owing to the ongoing tussle, the AICC had to take care of these appointments.
There are several issues at play between the Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh factions within the Madhya Pradesh Congress unit. One of the emerging issues is Chaudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi’s return to the party fold.
The Kamal Nath faction reportedly wants to field him from the Mehgaon constituency during the upcoming by-polls. But the Digvijaya faction is said to be opposing this proposal. As per Jagran, Ajay Singh, who is a part of the Digvijaya Singh camp objected to giving Chaturvedi an election ticket immediately on his returning to the party fold.
With Scindia faction going out of the picture and Kamal Nath looking like the man who let the party down, Digvijaya Singh enjoyed a certain advantage within the Madhya Pradesh Congress. But he has been facing stiff resistance within the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit.
Some Congress leaders had written a letter to the party high command, suggesting that Phool Singh Baraiya should be given greater priority than Digvijaya Singh for the Rajya Sabha polls. Equations have changed after the exit of the Scindia camp that has reduced Congress’ numbers in the state drastically.
Now, the party can get only one leader elected to the Upper House of the Parliament and therefore the Rajya Sabha elections are likely to become another flashpoint between the two factions.
A Congress leader has even levelled serious allegations against him. Former Minister Mukesh Naik went to the extent of condemning Singh over encouraging nepotism in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat Congress units. Naik alleged that Kamal Nath thought Digvijaya Singh to be a trouble-shooter, but Digvijaya Singh betrayed the former CM.
The old guard had come together only in order to get rid of a common target- the Scindia faction. Now, the battle has intensified within the old guard itself. As the Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath camps engage in pitched battles with each other, the Madhya Pradesh Congress unit remains a divided lot. In the days ahead, do not expect the state unit to act as a cohesive unit and this is most likely going to take a huge toll at the party’s performance in the upcoming by-polls.