In a hard-hitting statement, which is likely to further pile on the agony of the beleaguered state Congress, legendary hockey player and former Union minister Aslam Sher Khan has demanded that senior partymen in Madhya Pradesh like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath must give up their traditional safe seats and contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from seats, which are considered tough.
Speaking to Express the ex-Olympian, who was a member of the Indian hockey squad that won the 1975 Kualalampur World Cup, also described former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh’s decision to opt for a Rajya Sabha seat as “unfortunate” and said that it had sent out a wrong message to the party workers.
“For Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister, the BJP will have to do exceedingly well in MP. To stop this, Scindia should leave Guna and contest from Vidisha from where Sushma Swaraj will be the BJP nominee. If he contests from there, the neighbouring Lok Sabha seats too will benefit.”
“Similarly, Nath rather than sticking to his safe seat of Chhindwara should move to Jabalpur, which is the heart of the Mahakaushal region. The senior leaders have to give out a message that they are going to lead from the front rather than stay back and safeguard their turf,” Khan said.
Without dropping names, the former Union Minister said that some of the senior state Congress leaders had already made up their mind to go down without a fight.
“The Commander cannot expect the soldiers to perform well in the battle if he himself is scared and dejected. Look at Arvind Kejriwal. He played a master stroke by stating that he will only contest from where Sheila Dikshit was going to contest. This energised the AAP workers and the voters too supported him,” he said.
According to Khan, “The party needs to make sure that BJP leaders like Sushma and state BJP chief Narendra Singh Tomar are forced to labour for every single vote”. As for Digvijay’s migration to the RS, Khan said he was unable to comprehend the actual reasons behind the decision.
“I am not able to understand the reason for the ‘backdoor entry’. Instead of the RS he should have fought the LS (polls). Now, because of his nomination to the Rajya Sabha we have lost one seat, which we would have certainly won if he had contested. Modi cannot be stopped by the party workers alone. For that, we need the stalwarts and the senior leaders to fight on the ground,” he said.
A blue-eyed boy of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Khan had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 polls from Sagar.