After three days of high political drama, which brought factionalism in the Congress to the fore, senior party leader Satyadev Katare was appointed as the Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
Katare is considered close to Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and his name for the post was approved by party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
In an effort to strike a balance between the regional satraps, Rajendra Singh, MLA from Amarpatan and a Digvijay Singh loyalist, was made the Deputy Speaker.
The candidature of Katare was more or less confirmed after the two strongest contenders for the post, Ajay Singh and Mahendra Singh Kalukheda, lashed out at each other during the MLAs meet that was convened on Monday to select the Leader of Opposition.
“They spoiled their chance by publicly attacking each other. By Tuesday, the party high command had made it clear that neither of them were in the race for the post,” a party functionary said. Katare, who was the Home Minister during the Digvijay’s tenure as the Chief Minister, is now a Scindia loyalist and has never shied away from criticising Digvijay.
His appointment, overlooking Ajay, is an indication that Digvijay’s hold in the state party affairs was weakening. “If not Kalukheda, Katare is acceptable as both have their political loyalty to Scindia,” a Scindia supporter stated.“By appointing Rajendra as the Deputy Speaker, Sonia has also made sure that the Digvijay camp is not antagonised,” a party functionary said.
Rajpur MLA Bala Bachchan, who was announced as the deputy Leader of Opposition, a post which is not stipulated in the Constitution, has refused to accept the post. According to sources, he was unhappy with the post offered to him.