Bhopal: A fresh face-off between the Madhya Pradesh Congress’ “traditional rivals”, Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, is looming large with the Rajya Sabha elections due in April 2020.
Both leaders have landed virtually at the crossroads of their political careers after their defeat in the last Lok Sabha polls and appear desperate to enter the Upper House to boost their sagging political careers. The two leaders may end up vying for the party ticket for a single Rajya Sabha seat for various reasons, although three seats are due to fall vacant in MP in April 2020.
The Congress, with 115 MLAs in the 230-member Assembly, can elect one member comfortably, while the Opposition, with 107 MLAs, is also in a position to elect one member to the Upper House easily. An election appears likely for the third vacant seat.
Sources said Mr Scindia, who has been sulking ever since he lost the chief ministership to Kamal Nath after the Congress rode to power in MP, virtually riding piggyback on the former’s charisma in the 2018 Assembly elections, may see the denial of a Rajya Sabha ticket to him as the final straw, provoking him to decide on his future political course.
Mr Scindia’s followers feel he has been given a short shrift in the party with his demand for the post of Pradesh Congress Committee president, being cold shouldered by the Congress leadership for the past one year. Chief minister Kamal Nath also holds charge as PCC president.
Besides, his loyalist ministers in the Kamal Nath team have been given a raw deal, much to Mr Scindia’s dismay. The recent outburst by state forest minister Umang Singar, considered a staunch loyalist of Mr Scindia, against former CM and influential factional leader Digvijay Singh, was said to be outcome of the running feud between Mr Scindia and Mr Singh. Mr Singar accused Mr Singh of blackmailing ministers in the Kamal Nath government.
“The Congress leadership has found itself in a Catch-22 situation to nominate any one of the two leaders as the party’s choice for the first Rajya Sabha seat. Neither of them want to be nominated for the second seat as it will not only go for election, but also trigger an ego clash between them”, said a senior Congress leader who sought anonymity.
The three Madhya Pradesh Upper House members whose tenure will end in April are Prabhat Jha and Satyanarayan Jatiya (both BJP) and Digvijay Singh (Congress).