Why is Congress powerless to stop BJP embarrassing it in MP?

The BJP has regularly timed its actions to pull the rug from under the opposition’s feat at crucial stages.

Chandrakant Naidu March 10, 2014 11:05:49 IST
Why is Congress powerless to stop BJP embarrassing it in MP?

Bhopal: Pathetic political intelligence left the Congress red-faced when its candidate for Bhind in Madhya Pradesh crossed over to the BJP less than 24 hours after the party re-nominated him. More than the loss of a respectable face the Congress should be mourning the complete loss of intra–party cohesion.

Bhagirath Prasad the 1975 batch IAS officer who lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 to BJP’s Ashok Argal, was chosen to contest on a Congress ticket again. The State Congress chief Arun Yadav said Prasad was “begging for the ticket till the other day”.

Though Patel claims Prasad’s departure is actually a case of 'good riddance', he has no answer to the party vice president’s Rahul Gandhi’s questions on how the party failed to notice that he was wavering.

Why is Congress powerless to stop BJP embarrassing it in MP

Rahul has been demanding answers, but the Congress does not have them

Bhagirath Prasad, on the other hand, says even though the party gave him the ticket it made no use of his experience and talent. He said he was disillusioned as the party had “lost its way and Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were no longer in control of party affairs”.

State minister Narottam Mishra who has been the key man in engineering defections to the BJP, had been negotiating with Prasad when the Congress was about to announce the tickets. The Congress got no whiff of the BJP’s plans even when Mishra along with four other leaders took Prasad to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence for a final round of talks on Sunday.

Prasad, considered close to former chief minister Digvijay Singh, was formally inducted in the BJP at Bhopal on Sunday.

BJP state president Narendra Tomar said the Congress leadership is not able to retain talent. That is why he chose Modi over Rahul Gandhi. Prasad has been in touch with the BJP for more than six months. Both Digvijay Singh and Patel are said to have recommended Prasad for the ticket.

Prasad, who was president of the Gwalior unit of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, was also considered to be close to former chief minister Arjun Singh in the 1980s.

He held key positions in the state bureaucracy and was vice-chancellor of Devi Ahilyabai University at Indore. Prasad is likely to be projected as the BJP’s secular face as his wife Mehrunnisa Parwez in one of the most celebrated Hindi writers as well as a Padmashri awardee.

The BJP has been consistently plucking away key members from the Congress over the past two years and the latter has had no answer.

Rao Uday Pratap Singh, Lok Sabha member from Hoshangabad, had in November exposed the failure of intra-party intelligence by resigning from the party and parliament membership just 12 days before the assembly poll. The Congress could do little to retain him and he spoiled the party’s prospects in at least four assembly segments.

Former PCC chief Kantilal Bhuria drew flak for Uday Pratap’s defection. But Singh’s complaints of irregularities in the distribution of tickets were not looked into.

Poor floor-management and a lack of spirit to counter the BJP’s street fighting instincts derailed Congress during the last session of the previous assembly when the BJP led by Narottam Mishra induced the deputy leader of the CLP, Rakesh Singh Chautrvedi to cross the floor just as a no-confidence motion against them was being read out. The leader of the opposition Ajay Singh was held responsible for not getting any hint of Choudhary’s defection.

Chaturvedi wasn’t wooed by the ruling party overnight. But the Congress failed to check him the faction leaders in Congress have been so preoccupied with mutual undercutting they just can’t stop the party from bleeding. The Congress took Choudhary’s departure quite lightly. He had accused Digvijay Singh of indulging in caste politics. The party ignored his complaints.

The BJP has regularly timed its actions to pull the rug from under the opposition’s feat at crucial stages.

During the 2009 general elections the Congress candidate Rajkumar Patel was accused of having conceded the battle for Vidisha seat to Sushma Swaraj by purposely missing the deadline to submit papers. He was subsequently removed from the party.

Uday Pratap, Choudhary and Patel belonged to the faction of the former Union Minister and PCC chief who Suresh Pachauri, considered close to Sonia Gandhi. Pachauri’s support base in the state is the smallest among the party satraps in the state. Pachauri has hardly won any elections. The congress’ problems are due to growing lack of communication between the leaders and party workers. Choudhary and others have been complaining to the leadership about irregularities in the distribution of tickets.

Pachauri was even accused of selling the party tickets. But in the absence of any exemplary punishment to any leader the party continues to face such embarrassing situations, say party insiders.

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