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Last Updated : Sep 05, 2019 02:36 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Less than a year in power, Congress battling factionalism in Madhya Pradesh

BJP, meanwhile, has announced a 'Congress Bhagao, Pradesh Bachao' campaign from September 11

Atharva Pandit @AtharvaPandit3

Less than a year after it came to power in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress party — and the state government led by it — is battling factionalism within its ranks.

It all started with Umang Singhar, the state Forest Minister, hitting out against senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh. In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Singhar had said Singh is trying to establish himself as a parallel power centre in the state.

Singhar had also accused Singh of trying to destabilise the Kamal Nath-led state government.

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Observers in the state, however, have stated that Singhar's attack cannot be considered in isolation. According to reports, the factionalism within the party has come to fore over the appointment of the state unit chief, with various senior leaders gunning for the post.

One of these senior leaders, reports suggest, is Jyotiraditya Scindia. The former Union Minister on September 4 said it is the responsibility of the Chief Minister, Kamal Nath, to "resolve differences within the party after hearing all sides".

Singhar had also accused Singh of being involved in illegal mining, a topic on which Scindia had reportedly slammed his party's government.

"We had openly protested against illegal mining during the previous BJP rule. What's unfortunate is it's still underway under the current government. Strict action should be taken against those involved in it," Scindia had reportedly said.

The comments come on the background of a tussle within the state leadership regarding Scindia's possible nomination as the chief of the state party unit.

According to reports, Nath had met Gandhi last week and had apprised her regarding the need for a new Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president. Following this, posters had come up in Gwalior asking Gandhi to make Scindia the president.

Party leader Ashok Dangi had also said if Scindia is kept away from state politics, he will resign along with 500 other members.

While Scindia, who lost his Guna Lok Sabha seat during the general elections, has reportedly been unhappy with the central and the state leadership, other state-level leaders have also commented on the issue.

PC Sharma, also a minister in the state government and a loyalist of Singh, stated that Singhar was vying for the post of the state chief, but when that did not happen, he started targeting Singh.

Reports suggest that Singhar is also concerned about the rise of another Congress leader from his region, Hiralal Alawa, who is considered to be close to Singh. Following Singhar's comments, a number of Singh loyalists have come out in his support, widening the rift within the party.

Meanwhile, former state unit chief Arun Yadav, who was removed from the post before the Assembly elections last year, said that he was "pained" to see the "scenario emerging in the last eight months".

"If I had a hint that this situation will emerge, I would not have fought against the poisonous and corrupt ideology by putting my own life at risk. I am deeply hurt," Yadav wrote on Twitter.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, has announced a 'Congress Bhagao, Pradesh Bachao' campaign from September 11. Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has reportedly urged Sonia Gandhi to clarify on the situation within the party in Madhya Pradesh.

"Was the government formed to witness this monkey fight for power and get shares?" Chouhan asked on September 3.

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First Published on Sep 5, 2019 02:36 pm
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