Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath agree to disagree with party MLAs over Jyotiraditya Scindia

BHOPAL: The Gwalior-Chambal region, which had played a key role in the Congress’s return to power in Madhya Pradesh after a 15-year-long exile, is witnessing an intense internecine battle within the state party outfit. It is widely believed that Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath are united in their opposition to Jyotiradtiya Scindia. They want to make it sure that Scindia is not appointed president of the state Congress, the position currently held by Nath.

The Congress had won 26 of the 34 seats from the region in the 2018 Assembly elections, giving it a slender majority in the Vidhan Sabha. But for this scintillating victory, the party would not have been able to form its government in the state.

Scindia, who had played a crucial role in Congress’s stellar performance in the region, is now up in arms against the state Congress leadership.

Some days back, Scindia, who is the tallest Congress leader of the region, announced that he would take to the streets against his own party’s government if the promises made in the ‘Vachan Patra’ were not fulfilled. Chief Minister Kamal Nath responded with a curt, “Let him hit the streets, if he wants to”. Though Nath later did say that he held no grudge against Scindia but the damage was done.

Staunch Scindia loyalist and minister for woman and child development Imarti Devi announced that the entire party will hit the streets along with Scindia while Mahila Congress state general secretary Ruchi Rai Thakur went on to say that Scindia should revive the MP Vikas Congress, which was founded by his father Madhavrao Scindia.

Another Congress leader from the region, Bal Khande put up a series of pro-Scindia and anti-government posts on his Facebook wall in which he claimed that the workers of the party would not allow Scindia to meet the fate of ‘Mahabharata’s Abhimanyu’. He also appealed to Scindia loyalist ministers to quit the ministry.

Adal Singh Kansana, an MLA from Morena, who is considered a Digvijaya Singh-loyalist has expressed his displeasure over not being made a minister. “Ignoring senior leaders like me will not be good for the party,” he said.

Some other MLAs of the Gwalior-Chambal region, including Ranveer Jatav (Gohad) and veteran leader KP Singh Kakkaju too are not said to be happy with the government.

Two assembly by-elections are due within the next few months in the Chambal region – Agar in Agar district and Jaura in Morena district. In the 2018 polls, all seats in Morena district were won by the Congress.

The Congress, which has 114 members in the 230 members Vidhan Sabha, is running the government with support of non-Congress seven MLAs. It is wins both the by-polls, it will have 116 members – a simple majority in the House.

Factional infighting within the Congress had begun immediately after the party won the elections. Scindia supporters had protested outside PCC office after Kamal Nath was selected by party as CM. In August 2019, forest minister and young tribal leader Umang Singhar attacked Digvijaya Singh for allegedly interfering in the affairs of the government. Many MLAs have been accusing the ministers of not listening to them.