Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are more than two years away but former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has pitched for the projection of a chief ministerial candidate.
“Politics has changed in the last few decades, now it’s more election-driven. People want to know who their leader would be besides the party they are voting for,” Scindia told The Indian Express, while leaving it to the “high command” to take a call if and when to project someone as CM in 2018.
The Congress has been out of power in MP since 2003. The BJP, ruling for three terms, has consistently been projecting a face as CM. It has already declared it will contest the 2018 elections under incumbent Shivraj Singh Chouhan, also the chief ministerial face in 2008 and 2013. In 2003, the election that began the BJP’s so far unbroken run, Uma Bharti had been projected as CM.
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The Congress has tried to begin early in Uttar Pradesh by projecting Sheila Dikshit. In MP, however, going by Scindia’s suggestion is easier said than done. The party’s state unit is ridden with factionalism, and all its meetings are overshadowed by subsequent discussions on who was present or absent, rather than what issues were taken up.
In the state executive meet in Bhopal Wednesday, only PCC chief Arun Yadav, general secretary and in-charge of MP Mohan Prakash, Ratlam-Jhabua MP Kantilal Bhuria and former Union minister Suresh Pachauri were present. Among those absent were former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath and Scindia himself. All three have cited different reasons for their inability to attend.
Scindia said he had been in the middle of a 17-day road tour, planned well in advance. During his rallies, Scindia has highlighted the government for alleged anti-farmer policies, corruption and the Vyapam.
Scindia admitted there’s factionalism in the Congress and most workers are “disgruntled”. Yet, he had no doubt that “no power on earth can stop the Congress from coming back to power in the state but all leaders will have to talk to one another rather than talking behind one another’s back. You can survive only if the party survives”. The Congress has a huge base in every district, he said, and all it needs to do is strengthen it, he added.
Asked if the Congress has sensed an opportunity from recent signs of factionalism within the BJP too, Scindia said the Congress has “a great opportunity”. “We should come up with a game plan and not work sporadically. We can’t wait for their house to collapse and should rather clean our house,” said Scindia, MP from Guna and the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha.
Scindia insisted he was not pitching for himself. A few Congress leaders in the past have openly backed Kamal Nath as citing his experience and management skills. Though less vocal, supporters of PCC chief Arun Yadav also make a case for his projection.