By L S Herdenia
BHOPAL: There are now clear indications of MP Congress chief Kamal Nath and campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia working in greater coordination. Even there are no negative reports about coordination with Digvijaya Singh. A high level meeting was held in New Delhi to discuss the kick-off of the Congress campaign in the state. According to reports, the Congress president will launch a state-wide tour in September. A senior leader confirmed that Rahul will launch the campaign from Omkareshwar temple in Khandwa district.
Details of Rahul’s visit are being finalised in consultation with his team, chief spokesperson Shobha Oza said. It will be a joint campaign by the party president and senior leaders. The Congress chief had previously addressed a gathering on June 6.
While the campaign details were being worked out in New Delhi, certain unexpected events happened in the state, causing embarrassment to the party. The first such incident took place in Rewa, which is considered to be stronghold of Assembly Opposition Leader Ajay Singh. During informal talks with party men, Deepak Babaria, AICC secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh, had stated that after the elections either Kamal Nath or Jyotiraditya Scindia will be made chief minister. This statement was not liked by a section of local Congress workers, who objected the omission of Ajay Singh’s name. Giving vent to their feelings they misbehaved with Babaria. Reports even claimed that some party men tried to assault him. However, Ajay Singh has promptly condemned the incident.
State Congress leaders and even Rahul Gandhi took the incident seriously and have sought further details. Some party leaders point out that Babaria acted against the Congress policy of not naming any leader as the probable chief minister candidate. Those who criticised Babaria include Jayavardhan Singh, Congress MLA and son of Digvijaya Singh. Jayavardhan expressed the view that Kamal Nath was a better choice for the post.
Babaria’s statement has also divided followers of Kamal Nath and Scindia. Some observers feel that Babaria’s statement may damage the party’s poll prospects in Vindhya, Bundelkhand and the central regions including Malwa and Nimar. Nath is known to be leader of Mahakaushal while Scindia has a good hold in Gwalior-Chambal divisions. Earlier Babaria had stirred a controversy stating that Surendra Chaudary should be made deputy chief minister.
The second incident which caused embarrassment relates to the publication of a report in National Herald, the official Congress newspaper. A pre-poll survey in National Herald suggested that the BJP will convincingly regain power in Madhya Pradesh. Congress has rubbished the findings, but party sources are worried that BJP is likely to use the report for its advantage.
The survey, carried out by Tamil Nadu based news media outlet Spick Media Network from mid-June to mid-July, said the BJP would regain power convincingly with a majority of 147/230 seats. Narottam Mishra, spokesperson of the BJP government said, “I thank National Herald for publishing the truth but it should have been more detailed.”
Shobha Oza, chief spokesperson of Congress said such surveys are baseless and it has no connection to National Herald and Congress.
Another incident relates to the angry exchange between the two official spokesmen of Congress. They quarreled in the presence of media persons. Shoba Oza, chief spokesperson had to intervene to calm them.
Congress has scored a major victory when 24 lakh names were removed from the state voters list for Madhya Pradesh. Some 14 lakh of them were apparently deleted in the last two months. The voters’ list published by Election Commission in January this year had 5.07 crore voters while the draft voters list released on 31st July has 4.94 crores voters. Congress had alleged that the lists included 60 lakh bogus voters. EC officials had told media that 10 lakh names had been deleted since January. The commission, which carried out an extensive scrutiny, ruled that the Congress charge was untrue. (IPA Service)
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