Congress losing the plot in MP? Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia factions cross swords after Lok Sabha drubbing



In a rather embarrassing situation for the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh, ministers owing allegiance to Chief Minister Kamal Nath and senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia locked horns with each other during a recent cabinet meeting of the state after it completed six months in office. The squabble comes just days after the party failed to translate its Assembly election gains into victories in the Lok Sabha elections held recently. In December, the party displaced the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of three terms, winning 114 seats against BJPs 109. However, the gains eroded in a matter of months as the Congress managed to win only one of the 29 Lok Sabha constituencies as the BJP improved its tally by a seat to 28. The Congress has been riddled with factionalism in its state unit and this is what appears to be playing out in the open after the Lok Sabha polls drubbing. Jyotiraditya Scindia, among the most prominent of faces of the party from Madhya Pradesh, is now believed to be eyeing the post of party president which CM Kamal Nath currently holds, the Indian Express reports. Another dimension of the ongiong tussle within the party is a the speculation that Nath is likely to expand his cabinet soon. Rumours doing the rounds suggest that CM, as and when he expands his cabinet, may remove some ministers in order to accommodate allies supporting the state government as well as upset Congress MLAs. The ruling Congress as 114 MLAs in the 230 member Assembly. The BJP has 108 seats. Its Jhabua MLA G S Damor has been elected to the Lok Sabha. Sukhdev Panse and Pradyumna Singh Tomar, who owe allegiance to Nath and Scindia respectively, took on each other on Wednesday. Tomar was upset at not being allowed to speak when Panse tried to stop him. Two ministers each from both camps also reportedly joined in, after which the CM had to intervene. Even as the Congress is trying to downplay it as a difference of opinion between leaders, Notably, this isnt the first time when the internal factionalism has played out in the Congress MP unit. Scindia, former Guna MP, was among the top contenders for the chief ministers post in the run up to the assembly elections last year. He is also said to have put up his candidature strongly before Congress president Rahul Gandhi after it emerged victorious in the state. However, Rahul chose to go with Kamal Nath after days of deliberation.

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