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Congress to counter Shivraj’s plan to target Nath, Scindia in MP

BHOPAL: In a departure from his style of politics, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has gone personal and offensive against two Congress stalwarts Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. The two Congress leaders with considerable influence in their bastions of Chhindwara and Guna are considered an eyesore by BJP in Prime Minister’s plan for a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ (Congress free India).
Aiming to wrest Chhindwara and Guna seats for a Congress-free MP in the 2018 assembly and 2019 LS polls, the state BJP has launched direct attacks on the two big opposition leaders beginning with Scindia. Congress party on its part is also devising its strategy to counter the opposition charge.
As a part of the strategy, BJP has Rajya Sabha member and BJP vice-president Prabhat Jha led the charge by alleging that Scindia was involved in land grabbing in Shivpuri district. He was followed by higher education minister Jaibhan Singh Pavaiyya, a known Scindia baiter, with his remarks on ‘Maharaja of Gwalior’ tag.
Amid this, surprising was chief minister Chouhan’s attack on Scindia for land grabbing in Shivpuri at the recent working committee meeting of state BJP.
Chouhan had said, “I was surprised to know that the land belonging to trusts meant for people’s welfare was usurped and is being used for business purposes.”
Some Congress leaders claimed it appears the chief minister is targeting Scindia, anticipating that he might be named Congress’s chief ministerial candidate in next election.
The BJP leaders were also trying to corner former Union minister Kamal Nath in Chhindwara sensing his growing influence in the Mahakaushal region. Nath had weathered the Modi wave in 2014 LS polls and managed to save his seat.
Speculations about Nath taking over the Congress reign as state head and rumours about his changing the loyalty to BJP have indicated that he is being targeted wittingly or unwittingly by his political rivals.
The recent developments on BJP’s attempts to blunt the influence of the two leaders have alarmed the Congress leadership and the party is likely to devise their strategy accordingly.
Sources in Congress said this was similar to the campaign run by some rivals against senior Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh in Punjab where the party later gave a free hand to him that paid rich dividends.
“Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is likely to call both the leaders to discuss strategy for the coming assembly elections. It is evident that party high command was aware of the rumours and strategy of opposition party to try grab the seats,” said a senior state Congress functionary.
BJP leaders claimed that Madhya Pradesh could fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a ‘Congress free India’ if these two stalwarts are defeated in their bastion.
While Kamal Nath has rebuffed the rumours, Scindia told TOI he doesn’t want to give any credence to the issue and refused to react to it.

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