BHOPAL: United we stand, divided we fall — the time tested phrase doesn’t seem to have a place in the lexicon of ruling Congress in Madhya Pradesh. Bitter factionalism, largely responsible for keeping the grand old party out of power in the state since 15 years, remains the hallmark of the party despite being in power for last eight months.
Three major camps owing allegiance to ex-CM Digvijaya Singh, Chief Minister Kamal Nath and ex-union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia (whose supporters have been demanding his appointment as state party president) presently dominate the ruling party’s politics.
The infighting recently came to the fore again with forest minister Umang Singhar’s (considered close to the Gandhi family and also Scindia) diatribe against ex-CM Digvijaya Singh, accusing Singh of trying to destabilize the government by establishing self as ‘Shadow CM.’ The verbal attack, which continued for three days, however, was ensued by supporters of Digvijaya’s camp, including cabinet minister PC Sharma responding to Singhar in identical tone and Singh’s another supporter Aidal Singh Kansana, the powerful leader from Gwalior-Chambal region even demanding that the CM sack Scindia-loyalist ministers – Umang Singhar, Imarti Devi, Govind Singh Rajput and Pradyuman Singh Tomar.
The factionalism didn’t stay confined to three major camps, but internal differences seem to have emerged among Scindia loyalists, after Gohad MLA Ranveer Jatav and Ambah MLA Kamlesh Jatav alleged corruption by health minister Tulsi Silawat and kin. Silawat, who didn’t react to the allegations, too is seen as a Scindia loyalist.
And the internal feud isn’t only confined to war of words between leaders of the three main camps, but has spilled over on the streets, with Scindia supporters indulging in poster war for making him the MPCC chief and supporters of Digvijaya burning the effigy of Singhar in Bhopal on Thursday.
“The biggest example of factionalism was the manhandling of party’s national general secretary in-charge for MP, Deepak Babaria, by party workers at the Circuit House in Rewa a few weeks before the November 2018 polls,” a senior Congress leader from Vindhya region said.
Just after the Congress managed to return to power bitter factionalism again came to the fore, as senior leaders of Digvijayah camp, including Kansana and KP Singh Kakkaju, besides first time tribal MLA Hiralal Alawa and Scindia loyalist legislator Rajvardhan Singh Datigaon, openly expressed resentment over not being inducted into the council of ministers.
In June 2019, the cabinet meeting chaired by CM Kamal Nath saw war of words between the CM’s loyalist ministers and Scindia loyalist ministers.
According to Bhopal-based political analyst Chandrashekhar Mishra, “both, the Congress and BJP have loudmouthed politicians, but the major difference between them is that while BJP politicians are disciplined in publicly speaking, the Congress politicians don’t show restraint while talking on party matters, particularly due to more submission to their individual leaders rather than showing commitment to party and government’s cause.”
Media coordinator to CM Kamal Nath, NS Saluja, however, feels everything is now back to normal. “There is nothing disturbing within the party and reports of infighting and factionalism are being created by the BJP,” said Saluja.
However, the state BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal believed otherwise. “Right since this government came to power, turf war among the ministers and MLAs of different camps is for all to see.”
Three major camps owing allegiance to ex-CM Digvijaya Singh, CM Kamal Nath and ex-Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia presently dominate politics in MP