Millennium Post

When factionalism reigns supreme

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are in serious trouble. The reason is mounting discontent over the distribution of tickets for the three-tier urban bodies which will go to polls during the current month and also during December this year. How much serious situation is in both the parties can be appreciated by the headlines in a local English newspaper. The headlines are ‘After resignation of top leaders, Congress faces ticket-for-cash charges’. The other headline is ‘Rebels galore in BJP too.’

The discontent in the Congress is almost explosive. Protesting against the partisan allocation of tickets, three senior leaders of the Congress resigned from the posts held by them. The three leaders are Manak Agrawal, who has been acting as the chief spokesman of the state Congress for almost more than a decade, Dr Govind Singh, former minister and presently a senior party legislator and Premchand Guddu, former member of Lok Sabha. All three held the posts of vice president: It is speculated in the media that all these leaders owe loyalty to Digvijay Singh, AICC general secretary and former chief minister. All the three leaders alleged that they have been sidelined by the present PCC chief Arun Yadav.

Digvijay Singh who was in Bhopal on November 16 tried to play down the turmoil over ticket distribution and resignations of PCC office-bearers, Digvijay Singh said ‘The distribution of tickets must have been done in a proper manner.’

Talking to the media persons at the airport here, Singh said tickets for civic elections were distributed by AICC general secretary in-charge Mohan Prakash, secretaries in-charge Rakesh Kalia and Sanjay Nirupam, PCC president Arun Yadav and convenor Sajjan Singh Verma.

On the question of protests of senior leaders, Singh said that it is under the jurisdiction of Mohan Prakash and he would naturally deal with it. Digvijay Singh said resignation issue would be resolved and PCC president would deal with the issue in right earnest.

Meanwhile Shobha Ojha, chairperson of the women’s wing of the AICC described Manak Agrawal as a blackmailer. Shriniwas Tiwari, former speaker is also not happy over the manner in which tickets have been distributed. Reports about the discontent among the party men at various places are also pouring in Bhopal. The most significant aspect of the controversy is that most of the senior leaders who head various factions are maintaining distance from the ticket distribution process. These leaders include Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia and to some extent Digvijay Singh himself.

The present leadership of the state Congress has refused to make any change in the list of candidates already announced despite the pressure mounted on it. Clearly the message is that the Pradesh Congress Committee is not going to bow to the ‘dirty’ tactics of the rebels. The party has also warned that if any Congressman contests against the official candidate, they will face disciplinary action. Congress chief spokesperson K K Mishra asserted that the ticket distribution has been transparent and final decisions about the party candidates were made on the basis of reports prepared by 32 central and 1200 state observers.

The situation is a bit less serious in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, But it can’t be said that all is well in the BJP. Reports of resignations over the distribution of tickets at many places, refusal to withdraw after denial of ticket are reaching Bhopal.

Perhaps, the most serious situation has arisen in Hoshangabad district where Girja Shanker Sharma, former BJP legislator and real brother of the speaker Dr Sitasharan Sharma has raised the banner of revolt. Here Girja Shanker is supporting an independent against the BJP’s official nominee. Looking to the serious consequences of Girja Shanker’s revolt, the BJP leaders asked Speaker to intervene and persuade his brother to give up his opposition. With this objective in view, Speaker Sharma was summoned to the BJP office and told to intervene. Many eye brows have been raised over the speaker’s decision to visit the BJP office over a party matter.

According to tradition and norms, Speaker should keep away from day to day politics. Dr Sharma violated this code of conduct by appearing before the party leadership in connection with electoral politics.

Meanwhile the BJP has to expel three senior leaders over their acts of indiscipline.

Those expelled for anti-party activities are former mayor of Dewas, Sharad Pachunkar, former MLA from Guna, Rajendra Saluja and Daulatram Gupta, former vice-president of municipal committee of Sheopur.

Almost on the eve of the announcement of urban elections, BJP central leadership changed the party in-charge of Madhya Pradesh. So far Anant Kumar was the central in-charge of Madhya Pradesh. He has been replaced by Vinay Sahastrabuddhe. The outcome of the civic election will be the first test of his leadership. IPA
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