Congress has accused the BJP
- The Congress has accused the BJP of holding eight of its MLAs captive at Gurugram in a bid to topple the government.
- However, the controversy may be linked to the upcoming Rajya Sabha election and the competing claims of Congress leaders.
- According to political pundits, the party is in disarray due to infighting and dynastic rivalries.
There seems to be more to the troubles brewing for the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh than meets the eye.
The Congress has accused the BJP of holding eight of its MLAs captive at Gurugram in a bid to topple the government. Recently, senior leader and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh also alleged that the BJP was trying to lure Congress legislators by offering them money.
However, the controversy may be linked to the upcoming Rajya Sabha election and the competing claims of Congress leaders. Political commentator Rasheed Kidwai said that both Digvijaya and former Lok Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia may be angling for a Rajya Sabha berth, and the objective of the ongoing crisis may be to achieve political supremacy. The two leaders are also said to be competing for the post of the president of the party Congress committee.
Both of them lost their constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Digvijaya is presently a member of the Rajya Sabha, but his term ends in March.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh forest minister Umang Singhar, a strong critic of Digvijaya, has also dubbed the attempts to “topple the government” as an insider job, and as an attempt by some party leaders to enter the Rajya Sabha.
Ever since the Congress came to power in Madhya Pradesh, it has had to deal with not just opposition from the saffron party but also internal dissent. In fact, the party has not even elected a new state unit president — Kamal Nath holds the post in addition to his responsibilities as chief minister. In contrast, the party is in a relatively stable condition in neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has a wafer-thin majority, as it has 114 members as against the BJP’s 107 members.
Reasons behind the ‘rebellion’
- The ongoing ‘rebellion’ in the Madhya Pradesh has been going on for quite some time. According to political pundits, the party is in disarray due to infighting and dynastic rivalries.
- A Congress member close to Scindia said, “This kind of a rebellion was only to be expected. Each party faction wants its own members as ministers, and many senior MLAs have been sidelined. Scindiaji was the most capable leader to head the Congress party in the state, but Digvijaya Singh made all possible attempts to keep him away.”
- Elections for three Rajya Sabha seats are due soon. While the Congress and BJP can win one seat each comfortably, the battle for the third seat could take an interesting turn. The Congress has an edge as it is in power in the state.
- In this context, Scindia recently hit the streets with his supporters, openly criticising the Kamal Nath government on the implementation of the farm loan waiver, as also its policy on transfers and postings. He also hit out at Digvijaya, who enjoys enormous clout and is believed in some circles of the Congress to be the de facto chief minister.
- Another cause for dissent in the Congress’ state unit is the neglect of senior MLAs. Among the four Congress MLAs who were allegedly approached by the BJP, Bisahulal Singh and Hardeep Singh Dang are veterans and have served as ministers in the Digvijaya Singh-led government.
- A Congress source said, “While senior MLAs are being sides, younger legislators such as Digvijaya’s son Jaivardhan Singh are getting more prominence. Some of these younger minister do not pay heed to MLAs, due to which there is much discontent.”
- Unlike the BJP, the Congress is not a cadre-based party and lacks organisational discipline. As a result, many MLAs and other party leaders have been voicing their dissent against the party leadership from time to time.
BJP denies Congress’ allegations
- Madhya Pradesh BJP president VD Sharma has termed the Congress’ allegations on ‘poaching’ of its MLAs as unfortunate. He said, “The BJP has nothing to do with it. It is an internal tussle of the Congress.”
- A member of the BJP in Bhopal said, “This may have been a drama staged by Digvijaya Singh, as he might have got an idea that he would not be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.”
- The ongoing political developments are reminiscent of the ‘resort politics’ seen in Karnataka in 2019, when the BJP, Congress and JD(S) herded their MLAs in luxury hotels to prevent poaching attempts. The imbroglio culminated with HD Kumaraswamy failing to muster up the numbers, and BS Yediyurappa taking oath as chief minister. This was after 16 MLAs had resigned from the Assembly.