BHOPAL: Should Congress project a chief ministerial candidate before the 2018 elections? Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath and the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia differ on the issue. Both the leaders were in the state capital for a Congress demonstration against the ruling BJP this week. While Scindia said the Congress’ face should have been projected at least three months ago, Nath contended that naming a person as CM candidate does not necessarily ensure an electoral victory.
In Madhya Pradesh, BJP has always named its leader before the assembly elections since 2003. A year before the elections, when Digvijaya Singh was still the sitting chief minister, BJP announced Uma Bharti as chief ministerial candidate. In 2008 and 2013, the party made it crystal clear that elections would be fought under the leadership of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
A faction-riddled Congress, however, has not been able to declare a name before elections citing democracy within the party. Concerned that naming one person as CM candidate would lead to resentment among cadres, the Congress has always shied away from projecting a name. The Congress Legislative Party (CLP) decides their leader.”
But after three assembly election routs, Scindia thinks differently. “The Congress’ face for 2018 should be announced today, tomorrow or day after. I would say, we have very little time left and the name of the leader should have been declared three months ago – at least two years before the assembly polls,” he said.
When Scindia was making his demand for a face before elections, many years his senior Kamal Nath was making a more conventional statement at the state PCC headquarters. The former Union minister said, “Kewal chehre se chunao nehi jeeta jaata hai (Elections are won on the credibility of a face). But if required, AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi will give a face. But what is more important is that we expose the corrupt system of the BJP government. I believe that in the next 18 months there will be a movement of the people of Madhya Pradesh and not just the Congress to remove this government.”