There is growing speculation in the Congress that some of its young leaders could quit the party and may even join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Congress’s prospects in the forthcoming Assembly polls in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra look bleak, and there are fears that the party could see desertions after the election results.
Party leader and Scindia supporter Ashok Dangi said in a press statement that he and 500 workers would quit the party if Scindia is not entrusted with the leadership of the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit.
Earlier this month, Scindia openly disagreed with the Congress position on scrapping provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution. Scindia is yet to make a statement on the issue.
These leaders now fear that they would be eased out of key party positions. Party sources said veterans are now back at the helm of decision making with Sonia Gandhi as the party chief, and several changes are in the offing that could marginalise those appointed at key positions during Rahul Gandhi’s tenure.
In 2018, Scindia wanted to lead the party’s campaign for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, and be declared the party’s chief ministerial candidate. Once the party won the polls and Kamal Nath was elected the chief minister, Scindia was passed over for the post of the deputy chief minister.
Scindia was subsequently appointed general secretary in-charge, along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, of Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls. While the Congress performed poorly across the country, Scindia also lost his seat in Madhya Pradesh. His supporters blamed the infighting within the party for his loss. He currently heads the party’s committee to screen its candidates for the Maharashtra Assembly polls.
On Monday, Nath was in Delhi for a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He said there was no trouble with Scindia. “I don’t think Jyotiraditya Scindia is unhappy,” Nath told the media.
Nath said he was willing to work with any leader the party makes the Madhya Pradesh unit chief. He said he discussed the issue with Sonia Gandhi, but wider consultation is needed. Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, a former chief minister of the state, is reportedly backing Ajay Singh, son of late Congress veteran Arjun Singh.
There are fears in the Congress that not just Scindia, but some of the younger leaders who were junior ministers during the UPA 2 government and have the experience of running key ministries, could quit the party.