Setback for peace moves as MP Congress rift widens
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Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kantilal Bhuria's outbursts against Union ministers Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia at a meeting with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi here recently has thrown a spanner in the central leadership's efforts to bring a rapprochement among powerful leaders from the state ahead of the crucial Assembly elections.
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.
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