Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and state Congress President Kamal Nath on Saturday inspected the earmarked routes for Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi, which is scheduled to enter the state on November 20.
Kamal Nath first visited Khandwa from where he went to Khargone before inspecting the venue in Burhanpur district where Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a public gathering, besides taking stock of the security arrangements.
The senior Congress leader was accompanied by leader of opposition Govind Singh, former Union minister Arun Yadav and Khargone MLA Ravi Joshi, among others.
Kamal Nath also appealed to people to support the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Meanwhile, a controversy seems to be erupting over appointing Independent MLA Surendra Singh ‘Shera’ as in-charge for coordinating all the arrangements for the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Burhanpur and Khandwa districts.
The twist came just a week after former state Congress President and ex-Union minister Arun Yadav was entrusted the same responsibility in Khandwa, Burhanpur and his home district of Khargone.
Yadav, a powerful OBC leader, is the son of former Deputy CM Subhash Yadav, while Shera hails from a politically powerful Thakur family from Burhanpur district, whose members in the past had represented the Khandwa-Burhanpur Lok Sabha seat and the Burhanpur Assembly constituency on Congress tickets.
Shera had won the 2018 Assembly polls from Burhanpur as an Independent candidate after being denied ticket by the Congress. The official Congress candidate for the seat was reportedly an Arun Yadav backer, who finished third.
Sources told IANS that during the Khandwa Lok Sabha by-election in 2021, Shera was lobbying for a Congress ticket for his wife, but failed to get it.
With Shera now being given the responsibility of coordinating the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Khandwa and Burhanpur districts in place of Yadav, political watchers feel that it could be a clear indication that the former or someone from his politically influential family will be fielded by the Congress from the Burhanpur Assembly seat when the state goes to the polls next year.
The ruling BJP, meanwhile, has targeted the Congress over the issue, with senior leaders, including Home Minister Narottam Mishra and state BJP Secretary Rahul Kothari, dubbing the Congress as ‘Yaduvanshi’ (against OBC Yadav caste).
While trying to play down the issue, a state Congress leader in Bhopal said that Yadav himself wasn’t comfortable with managing the Yatra in Burhanpur and Khandwa, while Shera has all the resources to make the Yatra successful in the two districts.