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Kamal Nath, Scindia smoke peace pipe to mull Cong plan to keep BJP at bay

Telecom Minister Ravishankar Prasad and BJP MP from Bihar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy sparred publicly in Parliament although they are from the same state and party

Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia addresses a press conference as Congress Madhya Pradesh President Kamal Nath looks on, in New Delhi, on Sunday, June 03, 2018
Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia

Last week, Chief Minister Kamal Nath and top leader Jyotiraditya Scindia put their differences aside and met behind closed doors to strategise on how to keep the party together from a BJP assault that everyone believes is imminent on the ruling Congress government. The meeting stemmed from a clash between ministers loyal to Nath and those from Scindia’s camp during a meeting of the state cabinet. The two leaders discussed this issue for nearly 25 minutes at a dinner thrown by Health Minister Tulsi Silwat, said to belong to the Scindia camp. While 27 ministers in the council of ministers and 90 MLAs attended the dinner, significant absentees were Ajay Singh, Digvijaya Singh and PC Sharma. Interestingly, Scindia told MLAs the same thing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his MPs when he held his first meeting with them. The message: don’t issue unnecessary statements, don’t talk to the press too much.

Public spat

Telecom Minister Ravishankar Prasad and BJP MP from Bihar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy sparred publicly in Parliament although they are from the same state and party. The issue was the response of state run telecom operators BSNL and MTNL during natural calamities. Prasad, being the minister said only they offer free services to subscribers, to which Rudy replied that even private operators provide free services during floods, cyclones and droughts. To this, Prasad countered that it was only for a brief span of time unlike the state-run operators. Rudy retorted that the problem with state-run operators was that they also charged for call drops. To this of course, there was no answer.