Madhya Pradesh Congress grapples with enemy within

April 2nd, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, April 2 (IANS) Infighting is posing a big problem for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, with its official candidates in at least 12 parliamentary seats facing stiff opposition from local party leaders, sources say.
The Congress has so far declared nominations for 27 seats while it is yet to announce candidates for two remaining Lok Sabha constituencies - Hoshangabad and Satna.

Party sources claim at least 12 candidates fear sabotage by local party leaders who had been demanding tickets but were not obliged.

Prominent among those facing opposition on account of being outsiders are Raja Pateria from Khajuraho, Aslam Sher Khan from Sagar, Minakshi Natrajan from Mandsaur, Bhagirath Prasad from Bhind, Ojharam from Betul and Ramnivas Rawat from Morena.

“Though the so called outsiders are putting up a brave front, as many as 10 of them have already spoken out about lack of cooperation in their constituencies to the party leadership,” a senior party leader told IANS.

“At least a dozen candidates have written to the party leadership about non-cooperation of workers in their respective constituencies,” he added.

All is not well even in state capital Bhopal from where Surendra Singh has been declared the official nominee of the Congress despite the presence of party leader P.C. Sharma.

Sharma had apparently assured a Lok Sabha ticket from Bhopal when he was denied a nomination for the assembly polls in November last year. Only a few days ago his supporters burst crackers and distributed sweets when Sharma was assured of a nomination by the central leadership. But it was all in vain.

“Resentment against Surendra Singh’s candidature from the Bhopal seat came to the fore Wednesday when no senior party leader worth his name was present at the opening of his first election office,” a Congress member pointed out.

Singh, however, believes the opposition is temporary and will fade out soon.

Another senior party leader facing the same problem is Aslam Sher Khan, the candidate from Sagar constituency.

Local leaders and workers, after registering their opposition to his nomination in Sagar, have been camping in New Delhi with a demand that the candidature of outsiders be reconsidered.

Party candidate Ramnivas Rawat is facing internal opposition in Morena because another leader, Edal Singh Kansana, had been demanding a ticket from there.

Political analysts believe the party needs to crack the whip on workers and leaders opposing official nominees, otherwise the Congress party will face problems in increasing its tally in Madhya Pradesh from four - the number of seats it won in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Infighting is also said to be the reason for the Congress not yet fielding state party president Suresh Pachouri from the Hoshangabad constituency even though he is keen to contest from there, sources say.

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