BJP has given clear-cut messages to Opposition rebels that those who want to join them will get due respect and position.


New Delhi: The expansion of the Madhya Pradesh Cabinet is a fire alarm for the Congress. Success of the rebel formula may create a greater crisis for Congress in other states too.

The BJP has given clear-cut messages to Opposition rebels that those who want to join them will get due respect and position. BJP has appointed 14 supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia as ministers out of 22 former MLAs in Madhya Pradesh Cabinet expansion. However, the success of this move will depend on the outcome of the upcoming byelections in 24 seats. Therefore, the byelections in September will be a test for the BJP think-tank and Scindia. At the same time, it will also test the might of two Congress stalwarts and former CMs Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh. If the Congress fails to touch the double-figure in these by-elections, this will lead to more trouble for the Central leadership. Already, there is a sense of insecurity among the many state leaders. Toppling of the Kamal Nath government was also a failure of the Central command. Had they taken timely decisions, the Kamal Nath government would have survived.

Congress high command has not yet learned from the miscalculation of Madhya Pradesh. Meanwhile, BJP tried hard but couldn’t topple the governments in Rajasthan and Chhattigarsh due to able leadership of Ashok Gehlot and an overwhelming majority, respectively. In Rajasthan, the BJP failed due to Gehlot’s strategy, but Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra are still under BJP’s watch. In addition to that, BJP is also eyeing to cash in on the tussles and discontent among other state government leaderships as well. There are many states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand where leadership is either sidelined or divided. The BJP is aiming at the young team of Rahul Gandhi. If BJP is successful in retaining  power in Madhya Pradesh, their next target is Bihar, where the Congress is completely marginalised. Except for Assam and Punjab, Congress is not in a position to do miracles in poll-bound states like Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The Central leadership is not yet able to finalise teams for these states. On the other hand, the BJP is eying every state.

Every young Congress leader wishes for the position of political secretary as soon as Rahul Gandhi takes over command, while the old guard starts worrying about their posts. It seems that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are either happy or have been convinced that they will get power back only by attacking PM Modi and Yogi Adityanath. They don’t want to touch the organization. It is strange that a non-Hindi speaking, inexperienced leader has been made organization general secretary, which even affects the ground reporting from the Hindi-speaking states. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to say whether the Delhi leadership has understood the importance of Madhya Pradesh byelections or not. Rahul Gandhi’s fierce attack on PM Modi over the coronavirus crisis and China will be tested in Madhya Pradesh byelections. There is no clarity over Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in the state. Congress has left the fight to two former CMs, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh.

The BJP high command also relied on CM Shivraj Chouhan and Scindia. Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are unlikely to campaign. BJP national president J.P. Nadda can participate, but a final decision is pending. These will be the first elections held during the corona pandemic. As per the rules, this election has to be held before 20 September. These byelections will be a big experiment before the Bihar elections. If successful, then the party will enter the Bihar poll battle with a high morale. These byelections will also shape the political career of Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Jyotiraditya Scindia. The entire Cabinet expansion has been done by keeping on mind 24-seat by-elections in September. The BJP has to win more that 15 out of 24, otherwise the Congress will leave no stones unturned to return to power.  On the other hand, the Congress is wishing to get 50% seats. With 12 seats, the Congress will try to pull some possible rebel MLAs from the BJP. They are targeting around 8-10 MLAs from Bhind district.

If this is true, then certainly there is a threat to the Shivraj Chouhan government. But it is certainly not a cake walk. Experts suggest that Scindia will leave no stones unturned for the 16 seats in his stronghold Chambal-Gwalior division. That is why all ministers in the Kamal Nath government have got birth again in the Shivraj Chouhan government as well. These byelections will decide the political future of not only Shivraj Chouhan and Scindia, but for Kamal Nath and Congress as well.