Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has said his party’s “doors are open” for an alliance in Madhya Pradesh and seat sharing will not be a “speed breaker” for like-minded parties to come together, remarks that come amid talk of a Congress-BSP tie-up for assembly polls in the state.
Scindia, who is the Madhya Pradesh Congress’s campaign committee incharge for the assembly polls slated for later this year, also asserted that after a long time in the state all party leaders were working “unitedly and cohesively” to take on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
In an interview to PTI, the MP from Guna said all like-minded parties must work together.
However, he said, the like-mindedness has to be based on a fundamental precept of values and vision which was for a liberal, secular and a progressive India that ensures that every citizen joins the mainstream to take the country to its rightful place in the comity of nations. “And I think if that is our fundamental understanding of each other, and our values and our philosophies, then I think something like ticket sharing is not going to be a speed breaker in like-minded parties coming together,” said Scindia, who was among the few prominent leaders from the Congress to win in the last Lok Sabha polls.
Asked about Congress’s possible alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party in Madhya Pradesh, he said his party’s “doors are open” and it was ready for having “conversations” with other parties, but asserted that there should be a clear understanding of what the ultimate goal is. “And if it (the goal) is to establish a government that serves the people, unlike what the NDA has done, then certainly in states where any of those partners are strong, that rightful place of strength has to be given to that partner, but at the same time, the larger, the more stronger partner, has to ensure that an equal amount of respect and dignity is also given in terms of taking the whole coalition along,” he said.
Scindia said this principle of alliance would apply to all states irrespective of which party is in the position of strength. He said the Congress’ main battle cry for the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh would be “It’s time for change, and the time is now”.
He said a win in the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram would ceratinly change the dynamics for the Congress party in 2019 and provide a “huge momentum” to it ahead of the general elections.
“Alternatively, if we don’t do that well, it certainly will be a dampener going into 2019. So for us, it is imperative that we form governments in all four of these states,” the 47-year-old leader said.
Asked about Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan dubbing the Congress a divided house, Scindia asserted that there was no disunity in the party ranks.
The Congress in April had appointed senior leader Kamal Nath as president of its Madhya Pradesh unit and Scindia as the campaign committee chief ahead of elections in the state.
“After a long time in Madhya Pradesh all party leaders are working unitedly and cohesively to ensure that this battle, which is not a battle for the Congress, it’s not a battle for the BJP, but it is really a battle for the future of Madhya Pradesh, (is won).
“People have seen that in the last six to eight months how the Congress has been working together. So I think Shivraj Singh Chouhan should worry about his own party rather than being so concerned about the Congress. But, I really thank him for his concern for my party,” Scindia said.
Noting that the Congress has won bypolls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and stretched the BJP in Gujarat, while forming the government in Karnataka with the JD(S), he said that these were signals of the times to come.
“This is very clearly the undoing of the NDA government for which there is no one else to blame, but the NDA,” Scindia said. He said it was important for the Congress to not only talk about the inadequacies of the BJP government but also to present its vision for the future of the state.
“A vision which will bring a state at the heart of India back to its rightful place — of being the heart that pumps the rest of India,” he said. The former Union minister said he was “very confident” that the people of Madhya Pradesh have decided to get rid of the BJP government and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s rally last week was a testament to that.
“I don’t think the people of Madhya Pradesh can wait any longer. We’ve had 15 years of false promises. We have had 15 years of ‘ghoshnas’ (announcements). Every single citizen in Madhya Pradesh today is exasperated, is frustrated, is tired, is angry,” Scindia said. Asked about the Congress’s campaign strategy in the state and whether a Modi campaign blitz could be a game-changer, he said he believes whether it is the “Modiji factor or the Shivraj ji factor”, what will ultimately matter will be the people’s factor.
On the issue of alleged voters list discrepancies in Madhya Pradesh, he said his party had raised the matter with the election commission.
“I have great belief in our institutional democracy and the election commission that it is imperative that the voter list that comes out on July 31, only comes out after all due corrections are made based on the facts that we have presented.
“If that means that voter list printing and presentation gets delayed by a while, so be it,” he said.