Lead­ers who de­serted Congress in MP re­turn­ing to party fold

Some oth­ers are await­ing the Kar­nataka re­sults to see how the pArty pEr­Forms tHErE BE­ForE tAk­InG A fi­nAl DE­CI­sIon.

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

Janata Party (BJP) is grap­pling with in MP.”

Sources said that the lead­er­ship at the dis­trict level is wit­ness­ing a bet­ter re­sponse since the party re­cently won the by­polls to Mun­gaoli and Ko­laras seats in the state. Ac­cord­ing to sources, in dis­tricts like Shah­dol, Anup­pur, Umaria, peo­ple who had been dis­ap­pointed in Congress, are com­ing back.

Re­cently, Paras Sak­lecha, pop­u­lar Vya­pam ac­tivist, and Kam­lesh Khan­del­wal, both in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates from Rat­lam and In­dore re­spec­tively, joined Congress. Sashi Kar­nawat, a for­mer IAS of­fi­cer who was sacked by the BJP gov­ern­ment af­ter a print­ing scam, too, was ex­tended a Congress mem­ber­ship by party’s new state pres­i­dent Ka­mal Nath last week.

A for­mer BJP MLA, Ab­hay Mishra, too, joined Congress, aban­don­ing the BJP in March.

Af­ter the for­ma­tion of the BJP gov­ern­ment in De­cem­ber 2003, many Congress lead­ers had changed their loy­alty to the rul­ing party. Among them were Chaud­hary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi, Dr Bha­gi­rath Prasad, Rao Uday Pratap Singh etc.

Ma­hen­dra Joshi, long­time head of the Seva Dal from MP, said, “Elec­tions in dif­fer­ent states do tend to have chain re­ac­tions, but I do not think Congress is wait­ing for any­body. Some peo­ple left Congress due to op­por­tunism, while a few oth­ers had le­git­i­mate is­sues. The lat­ter kind of peo­ple are likely to find a way back in Congress.”

Congress work­ers had been los­ing faith given the frag­mented lead­er­ship and con­se­quen­tial in­ac­tiv­ity in the state, forc­ing many of its mem­bers to aban­don the party. Work­ers in the party ex­plain in hushed tones that the state high com­mand los­ing-out on cru­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties had caused deep re­sent­ment in the party work­ers.

A Mad­hya Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee mem­ber said: “Lead­ers did not do enough about the Vya­pam scam or farm­ers’ protests. These were chances for Congress to build its counter-nar­ra­tive and make BJP look bad in the state early on. There was so much that could have been done, but there was no di­rec­tion, which is why work­ers chose to leave Congress.”

How­ever, the same sources have em­pha­sised that since the Congress’ “per­for­mance” in Gu­jarat, the work­ers have found hope. Rid­ing the pos­i­tiv­ity, the party an­nounced the “ghar wapsi” pro­gramme in Jan­uary this year af­ter some mem­bers who had left the party ex­pressed a de­sire to make a come­back. Nonethe­less, no cru­cial names have joined the Congress as yet.

For­mer head of All In­dia Congress Mahila Com­mit­tee Sobha Oza said, “Peo­ple are com­ing back. We are see­ing an in­flux of peo­ple who want to work for the party. Some of them had left us be­fore and some are fresh joi­nees. The party is al­ready in an ac­tion mode in Mad­hya Pradesh. Even some BJP MLAs who want to join us have ap­proached Ka­mal Nathji.”

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