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Posts Tagged ‘Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is in jitters. The cause of his distress is not the opposition Congress, which is yet to put its house in order, but his own party’s leadership. First, the appointment of Anandiben Patel as Governor. From the day one, she started acting like an additional Chief Minister, visiting places, attending functions, interacting with people, calling reports from bureaucrats and, at least on one occasion, she even told the bureaucrats what to do to ensure votes for the BJP, forgetting that she was holding a Constitutional position and was not an errand lady of Amit Shah. All along, Anandiben has been keeping Chouhan aside.

Then came a bigger shock to Chouhan when Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan was replaced by Rakesh Singh as the State BJP president. Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan was to Shivraj Singh Chouhan what jesters used to be to nawabs in the mediaeval India. Rakesh Singh is a low profile Member of Lok Sabha from Jabalpur. That he was never known to be confidant of Chouhan is one thing. What is more, BJP president Amit Shah flew to Bhopal for a couple of hours in the midst of his do or die election campaign in Karnataka just to introduce Rakesh Singh to senior party functionaries who were summoned from across the State for this special occasion. If Chouhan still had a flicker of hope in his heart, it was mercilessly shattered by Shah by announcing that the party would contest the Assembly elections later this year under collective leadership which was interpreted to mean that Chouhan may not be the chief ministerial candidate.

In the light of these unsavoury developments for Chouhan, it is anybody’s guess if it was a Freudian slip or an expression of his dying hope that at an official function he indicated towards the chair kept for him and remarked that the Chief Minister’s chair was vacant, anyone could sit on it. Later on he did say that he had made the remark in jest but that explanation was irrelevant. The newly nominated PCC chief Kamal Nath was quick to interpret that the reality was slowly dawning on Chouhan that the BJP would be routed out in MP (in the forthcoming elections).

It is being argued in BJP circles that the party leadership is planning to keep Chouhan on the sides and deny ticket to a large number of ministers and MLAs with a view to countering the incumbency of the 15-year BJP rule. Another theory, which looks bizarre by its nature, being discussed is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may hold the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh not later this year when these are due but hold them along with Lok Sabha elections in May next year, so that there is greater focus on Lok Sabha elections which the BJP hopes to win because of Modi’s oratorical skills. Elections to an Assembly have to be held within a stipulated period from the day the term of the present Assembly expires and there is no precedence of the President’s Rule in a State after the term of the Assembly has ended. But the BJP circles feel that Modi may find a way out.

The State Congress leaders are, on the other hand, euphoric as they have started seeing the end of the 15-year rule of the BJP. PCC chief Kamal Nath is said to be planning a two-pronged strategy to make the Congress formidable enough to take on the BJP. For one, he plans to ask party leaders to submit panels out of which to pick up a specified number of names for inclusion in the PCC working committee so that there is a wide representation in the State party’s decision making body. Secondly, the only criterion for giving party ticket to a person will be his/her winning chances and the candidates will thus be selected after a strict scrutiny. Sounds good. The problem comes when implementing such ideas. The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has a long history of sordid factionalism. 

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Though there is no word from the Congress High Command as yet, the buzz in Madhya Pradesh is that Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the party’s face in next year’s Assembly elections. Member of Lok Sabha from Guna constituency, Scindia has increased his visits to the State. In the aftermath of the police firing on farmers in Mandsaur district in early June, Scindia held a three-day Satyagraha in Bhopal. Most of the State party leaders, including AICC General Secretary and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, attended it. Later Scindia held a one-day demonstration at Khalghat in Khargone district on the farmers’ issue. Veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath, who did not come to Bhopal, attended it there. Scindia has since held several programmes in the State to highlight the travails of the people in the BJP government of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, with main emphasis on the plight of the farmers in the State.

Appearances apart, the disquiet among Congress chieftains of the State at the emergence of Scindia as the possible chief ministerial candidate is much too palpable. Some time back, Kamal Nath had started attacking the Chouhan government with unusual regularity following media reports that he was soon going to be named as the PCC chief in place of Arun Yadav and was going to be the chief ministerial candidate. After Scindia’s name started doing the rounds, Kamal Nath’s belligerency has waned. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh is not seen in the current (monsoon) session of the Assembly in the same ebullient form which he displayed the last time as the Leader of Opposition. He was himself aspiring to lead the party in the elections.

Digvijaya Singh is a case apart. Once he had seen in Ajay Singh the next Chief Minister. At another time at a party function at Chhindwara, he had favoured Kamal Nath. Chhindwara is Kamal Nath’s Lok Sabha constituency. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that he does not like Scindia, nor, for that matter, did he like Scindia’s father, late Madhavrao Scindia. In fact, the only Scindia he liked was Madhavrao’s late mother Vijayaraje Scindia. Vijayaraje, one of the seniormost BJP leaders, fully reciprocated Digvijaya Singh’s sentiments and often praised the Congress leader publicly, to utter chagrin of the late BJP leader Sunderlal Patwa.

At the farmers’ rally organised by Jyotiraditya in Lahar in Bhind district early this month, Digvijaya Singh left the party workers aghast when towards the close of his speech, he looked at Scindia and said: ‘go and fight BJP and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, NOT ME.’

Digvijaya Singh has reiterated that he is not interested in Madhya Pradesh politics. He will now undertake spiritual parikrama of river Narmada from October 1. It may take several months to go round the river on foot.

Interestingly, Rubina Sharma Singh, wife of Digvijaya Singh’s younger brother Lakshman Singh, has pleaded for Scindia. In a Facebook post she says: ‘Jyotiraditya Scindia is making a great effort to resurrect the Congress Party here in Madhya Pradesh. Now, the rest of the Party leaders need to genuinely support him and stop this ego tussle they have with him.’ A similar appeal was made by Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh (who is Congress MLA) at Scindia’s Bhopal Satyagraha in early June.

The BJP leaders, too, have concentrated their attacks on Scindia. To which level they can go to malign Scindia is shown by an incident. A trauma centre was to be inaugurated by Scindia in Ashoknagar in his Lok Sabha constituency where local BJP MLA Gopinath Jatav, a Dalit, was also invited. Jatav, however, pre-empted it and inaugurated it a day earlier. Congress leader and Scindia’s representative Amit Tavre promptly issued a statement that the trauma centre had been contaminated by the touch of a Dalit and would be washed with gangajal. The Congress leaders were stunned by this unauthorised statement. District Congress Committee president Gajram Singh Yadav promptly expelled Tavre from the party for six years. Scindia removed him from the responsibilities of his representative.

BJP leaders denounced Scindia’s feudal attitude and his prejudice against Dalits. On a directive from State BJP president Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan, the BJP workers burnt effigies of Scindia at district headquarters all over the State on July 24.  


May 2018
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Outright Perilous!

An egoist as the head of the government is bad enough. An egotist is a nuisance as his constant chant of I…, I…., I….. jars on the listeners’ years. But when he loses touch with the reality and starts believing his imaginary achievements to be his real achievements, that’s outright perilous.

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