Setback for peace moves as MP Congress rift widens
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Congress sources said days before Rahul's meeting, senior leaders including Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Scindia, Bhuria and CLP leader Ajay Singh met in New Delhi at the behest of the party high command to sort out differences and put a joint front.
Bhuria and Ajay Singh, however, chose to attack Scindia and Kamal Nath at Rahul's meeting, complaining of non-cooperation. Singh complained that when he had launched a Jan Chetna yatra last year, he had been forbidden to enter their constituencies.
The attack on Scindia and Kamal Nath, said sources, has come as a setback to efforts to unite all factions in the state. It came even as another meeting of these leaders was being planned in New Delhi to ensure that they set aside their differences in party's interest.
Since his appointment as PCC chief in 2011, Bhuria has had frequent run-ins with senior leaders. Last October, many party MLAs camped in New Delhi demanding a change of guard in the state Congress. Ajay Singh, who had been appointed CLP leader weeks after his father Arjun Singh's death, is also said to have differences with the PCC chief.
Infighting in MP Congress is not a new phenomenon. When the late Rajiv Gandhi had appointed Digvijaya Singh PCC chief in 1985, he had to contend with veterans like the Shukla brothers (S C Shukla and V C Shukla), Arjun Singh and Motilal Vora among others. Bhuria doesn't have his patron Digvijaya Singh's political acumen though. Besides, his stature as the party's tribal face in MP had taken a beating in the last Assembly elections when the Congress was trounced in the tribal belt.
"There are four potential CM candidates in MP Congress today — Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Suresh Pachouri. While Pachouri lost his chance after the party's loss in 2008, Singh is no more interested in state politics. That leaves up with only two popular leaders — Scindia and Kamal Nath. While one is young, energetic and popular, the other is a veteran of many battles. The party has to project one of the two as its face in the coming election," said former Union minister Aslam Sher Khan. In an apparent bid to pacify the PCC chief, Scindia had stated publicly last year that Bhuria should become the CM when the party returns to power.
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