Friday, October 05, 2007

Congress fighting 'infighting' in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh

With the mid-term elections to the Lok Sabha looming large following constant threats from the Left , political parties have started to gear up for the forthcoming 'Dance of democracy'.
The Congress party across the state of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has its hands full with infighting plaguing the organization in both the states and it has is yet to decide on many a important appointments. Including that of who would be the PCC chief for 6 different states including Chhattisgarh.

Speculation is that Subhash Yadav who is the PCC chief of Madhya Pradesh will be removed from the post as to save the party from the infighting that has plagued the state organization for as long as one can remember.

The state has many a political leaders who have a heavy stake in the state. Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath,Jyotiraditya Scindia, Suresh Pachouri and not to forget the old stalwart Arjun singh, all are in a midst of a war so as to decide that who would emerge stronger. These leaders have found a ring to match their strength in view of the expectation that the appointment for the post of state Youth Congress president would be made soon.

Among those in the race for the post include Union Minister Suresh Pachouri-supported Vikalp Deria and Atul Sharma, and MLA Rajwardhan Singh, a close confidant of Gwalior's Jyotiraditya Scindia. Other contenders include Mr Kamleshwar Patel, a supporter of Union Minister Arjun Singh, Mr Dinesh Gurjar, a confidant of Union Minister Kamal Nath.The post of state Youth Congress President had been vacant since the past two years after the tenure of then incumbent Meenakshi Natrajan ended.

Arjun Singh just like his own ambition of becoming Prime minister harbours an age old ambition of seeing his MLA son Ajay Singh become the CM of Madhya Pradesh. Though Political analysts feel that it would be difficult for Ajay as he will have to counter many a more senior and suitable leaders on his path. His not so successful stint as a minister in the previous Digvijay singh government hasn't helped his cause much.

Similarly Digvijay Singh who till recently was more active at the central stage has shifted his focus towards his home state. Diggi Raja has a point or two to prove after his loss in the previous state election where congress was completely wiped out by Uma Bharti led BJP. His clash of interest with the other 'royal blood' leader, Jyotiraditya Scindia is not hidden. The battle between the two can be seen as fight between a veteran ruler trying to consolidate his position and a young turk trying to make his mark.

A more interesting situation is being witnessed in the state of Chhattisgarh. Here it is "one against all", With the minority guy being Ajit Jogi. The former CM who has been going through a tough period of late and he will have to garner all his strength and experience to win the 'make or break' battle in the tribal state. With the entry of V C Shukla in the party, his climb has become more steeper.

Charan Das Mahant, Moti Lal Vora and now VC shukla, it appears that the tribal leader has got his hands full. Mahant is by no means a novice and with the active support of Vora, he has been able to make situation sticky for Ajit Jogi. The state PCC has not had a PCC chief since the previous election as both the rival camp are yet to decide on a consensus candidate. Although Mahant was apppointed as chief , but that is a temporary measure.

Observers feel that the only leader who can match Jogi in drawing crowds is Shukla. The previous round was won by Jogi when he defeated VC with a heavy margin to win the Mahasamund Lok Sabha seat. Motilal Vohra is seen as the man who facilitated Shukla's re-entry into the congress.

Most of the congress MLAs from the state claim support to the Jogi faction and this is where the Mahant-Vora-Shukla group may lose out. Detractors, specially VC Shukla may rake up the murder case of National Congress party (NCP) treasurer Ram Avtar Jaggi who was allegedly killed in 2003 allegedly at the behest of Amit Jogi ,son of Ajit Jogi.

After falling out from the good books of Sonia Gandhi , Ajit Jogi has slowly but gradually regained his lost position. This was evident after he was able to successfully demand a congress ticket for her wife Dr.Renu Jogi from Kota for the by-assembly . The seat was won by Renu Jogi by more than 22,000 votes after defeating BJP's Bhupendra Singh Thakur in a keenly contested by-election, for which she had got the ticket at the last minute amid protests from senior party leaders.

The Kota battle was dubbed a battle of prestige between the BJP and Ajit Jogi and was seen as a referendum on the state government. The BJP treating it as a prestige issue used all its weight andRaman Singh deployed all his 12 ministers for campaigning. RSS memebers also flew in from New Delhi.

After coming into power BJP hasn't had much opportunity to weaken the state Congress as this was easily done by the intra-fighting in between the various leaders. Observers feel that Raman Singh is fighting a very strong anti- incumbency wave and he also will have to pay a hard price for the corruption charge that has been levelled time and time against his party members.

A union cabinet expansion is on the cards, and it will be interesting to see that whether someone from Chhattisgarh makes into the Manmohan Singh ministry or not. Ajit Jogi has been a long standing candidate for a ministerial birth and he would have already been there but for Moti Lal Vohra.

It seems that the future political scenario in both these states would not be decided by the rivals outside but by rivals within.



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