Despite being out of power in Madhya Pradesh, there are enough indications that the Congress is once again witnessing an internal discord. This was evident while giving party membership to Hindu Mahasabha leader Babulal Chaurasia. This decision by the party did not go down well with senior party leader Manak Agarwal, who attacked the party for which he has been expelled for six years.
The identity of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh has always been known for factionalism, but the situation changed after the party handed over the leadership to Kamal Nath before the state Assembly elections and this was the reason it won the 2018 Assembly elections.
In a span of just 15 months, the situation within the Congress deteriorated and the Kamal Nath government collapsed because former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia rebelled and joined the BJP along with 22 former Congress MLAs.
After being out of power, the Congress has been continuously strengthening its presence at the ground level. Meanwhile, the voices of dissent have started rising after Babulal Chaurasia was inducted into the party.
Senior party leader and former Union Minister Arun Yadav, former MP from Mandsaur Meenakshi Natarajan, MLA from Chachoura constituency, Laxman Singh, former minister Subhash Kumar Sojatia, and several other party leaders questioned Chaurasia’s inclusion in the party.
Everybody in the party opposed the entry of Babulal Chaurasia into the Congress. Manak Agarwal, former Congress Media Cell President and close aide of former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, launched a direct attack on Kamal Nath. The matter went to the party’s Disciplinary Committee and Agarwal was expelled from the party for six years.
Political analysts believe that by taking action against Manak Agarwal, the party has given a clear message to those leaders who raise questions and has also instructed them to remain within the ambit of discipline.
It won’t be surprising if this decision deepens the discontent within the party since Agarwal is said to be close to Digvijaya Singh. In such a situation, Digvijaya Singh’s supporters and Kamal Nath supporters may even confront each other.
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra has taken a dig at Manak Aggarwal’s expulsion from the party and said, “Action was taken against Congress leader Manak Aggarwal for inducting a Nathuram Godse supporter in the party making him ‘irrelevant’. The party did not even dare to say anything against Arun Yadav who was also against inducting the Godse supporter in the party. It seems that Congress is accepting pro-Godse supporters in its fold.”
Many party leaders believe that Manak Agarwal had directly attacked Kamal Nath which should have been avoided while the party should have asked for his clarification before taking action against him.
This action has sent across the message that the party has taken a unilateral decision. This situation is not good for the party as the elections for the municipal bodies and panchayats are going to be held in the coming days. This will only increase the split within the party.