Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the Congress’ chief ministerial face in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, top sources in the Congress told The Sunday Guardian, adding that the decision has been taken by party vice president Rahul Gandhi, who took Kamal Nath, Scindia’s nearest rival, into confidence by assuring him of a continued “active and important role” in the AICC, even after its imminent reshuffle where Rahul and his team are expected to replace the old guard. The sources revealed that no such compromise formula was offered to Digvijaya Singh, who was largely ignored by Rahul in negotiations initiated by him to settle the party’s state leadership issue. The sources further said that Singh’s Narmada Parikrama Yatra was an “individual initiative” and was not endorsed by the party or its high command.
“Rahul Gandhi has taken the decision that Jyotiraditya Scindia will be the Congress’ Chief Ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh. The decision was taken after getting Kamal Nath on board. Rahul made sure that Kamal Nath endorsed Scindia as the CM face, after assuring him that he would continue to play an active and important role in the All India Congress Committee (AICC) even after Rahul replaces his mother Sonia Gandhi as the party president. Kamal Nath has come out in public stating he would support Scindia if the high command decides to project him as the CM face,” a reliable source close to Rahul Gandhi told this newspaper. The source emphasised that Digvijaya Singh’s yatra is not a Congress brainchild, but the veteran’s way of showing displeasure with the high command. Singh was earlier dropped as the in-charge of Goa and poll bound Karnataka. “The leadership issue in the state (Madhya Pradesh) is resolved. Kamal Nath has agreed to stand by Rahul’s decision. Singh is very annoyed with the high command, but Rahul has made up his mind. Singh’s yatra is his individual effort and is not supported or endorsed by the Congress party,” the source quoted explained.
The source said that Scindia could be made the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief after Rahul Gandhi is formally anointed as party president, expected any day before 14 and 19 November, the birth anniversaries of his great-grand father Jawaharlal Nehru and his grandmother Indira Gandhi, respectively. Gradually, Scindia would also be declared as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, the source added. Kamal Nath, nine-time MP from Chhindwara and Congress’ general secretary, was considered one of the front-runners for the post of CM candidate of the Congress, but Rahul decided to opt for a “younger and energetic” Scindia, who is closer to him, over the 70-year-old veteran. Arun Yadav, the incumbent PCC chief in Madhya Pradesh, is expected to be relieved from his post to make way for Scindia. Until some time ago, Kamal Nath was himself eyeing the position, but after it became apparent that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress president was imminent, the older leader, sources said, opted to play safe and not run out of favour with Rahul.