Digvijay’s social engineering fails in Jabera
Posted June 30, 2011on:
The Congress has lost the Jabera Assembly by-election in Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh. This is the third consecutive by-election which the Congress has lost to the BJP in the constituencies previously held by the Congress. The Jabera by-election was caused by the death of Ratnesh Solomon who was a minister in the Digvijay Singh government. The party had fielded Ratnesh’s 27-year-old daughter, Dr Tanya Solomon, anticipating a sympathy wave in her favour in addition to the traditional votes which the Congress considered its own.
The BJP had earlier wrested from the Congress the Kukshi and Sonkutch constituencies. The Kukshi by-election was caused by the death of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jamuna Devi while the by-election in Sonkutch was necessitated by the election of Sajjan Singh Verma to Lok Sabha. Both had held ministerial positions in the Digvijay Singh government.
The by-elections at Kukshi and Sonkutch were held while Suresh Pachauri was still at the helm of Congress affairs in Madhya Pradesh. Pachauri has made a singular contribution to the decline of the Congress organisation.
The Jabera by-election was held, however, under a different dispensation. AICC general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh had got Kantilal Bhuria appointed as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and Ajay Singh (Rahul Bhaiya) as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. (Ajay Singh did not feel it necessary to get himself elected leader at a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting. Assembly Speaker Ishwardas Rohani recognised him as the Leader of Opposition merely on the basis of the letter of Oscar Fernandes signed on the direction of Congress president Sonia Gandhi).
Kantilal Bhuria continued to hold his position as minister of tribal welfare at the Centre and visited the Madhya Pradesh mostly on weekends to perform his duties as PCC chief in a peremptory manner. Ajay Singh has no spark and lacks political acumen. Besides, Ajay Singh’s open murmurs about using tribal PCC chief to get to the chair of chief minister after the next Assembly elections as his father (late Arjun Singh) had done in 1980 might have disheartened Kantilal Bhuria. The Congress in Madhya Pradesh today is more disorganised than it was when Bhuria and Ajay Singh were appointed. Digvijay Singh, never shy of flaunting the two as his protégés, has not done anything to reorganise the party.
Tanya Solomon polled almost as many votes as her father had polled in 2008. She received 42,108 votes (out of 1, 23,502 the total votes polled) while Ratnesh Solomon had received 41,379 (out of 1, 21,723 votes polled). BJP candidate Dashrath Lodhi received 53,846 as against 39,617 voted received by the BJP in 2008.
Clearly, the Congress has not been able to increase its support base, Digvijay Singh’s social engineering of having a tribal as the PCC chief and a Thakur as the Leader of Opposition notwithstanding.