Bhopal, Aug. 12: Jyotiraditya Scindia’s bid to project himself as the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate in Madhya Pradesh has again failed to find favour with the party high command.
Scindia, the junior power minister, got Kamal Nath’s backing yesterday. “When I visited Guna for the first time, Digvijaya Singh became chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Now, when I have come again, Scindia would become chief minister,” Nath told a group.
Himself seen as an aspirant for the hot seat, Nath was in Guna, Scindia’s parliamentary constituency, to inaugurate a power project. The duo later attended a state Congress meet in Sagar district.
Nath’s remark evoked strong reactions in Bhopal and New Delhi, which rules out chances of Scindia being projected as chief minister candidate. Madhya Pradesh goes to polls in November.
AICC general secretary Mohan Prakash told The Telegraph: “It is not Congress custom or tradition to project anyone as chief ministerial nominee. We have not named anyone nor do we intend to do it in the near future. Such remarks are avoidable,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kantilal Bhuria, a tribal leader, was more critical. “It is premature and uncalled for to say one individual or other would be chief minister. In the Congress, we do not project anyone. The decision is taken by Sonia Gandhi in consultation with new MLAs.”
Many senior Congress leaders said parliamentary affairs minister Nath’s remark could prove counter-productive. “BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan now has a chance to dub us as feudal and against tribal aspirations,” an AICC official said, hinting at Scindia’s penchant to describe himself as “maharaja”.
“Bhuria is a tribal. If word goes out that the Congress has a predetermined notion of not giving tribal leadership a chance to run the state, the voting pattern in tribal seats may get affected.”
Nath sought to underplay his remark, saying it was his “personal view”.
This is not the first time that Scindia’s name has been suggested for chief minister candidate and shot down by the Congress high command. In March, Scindia had said that if he got “one chance” he would teach the BJP a lesson.
Jhabua MP Bhuria had then pointed at the party dismal poll show since 2003 and asked: “What does Scindia want? How many chances does he want?”