Congress leader and former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia's visits always stir up the political cauldron in the state capital. Dinner diplomacy during previous visits has invariably also fuelled factionalism. Thursday night was no exception. A day after Sankranti political kite flying began again when Scindia arrived at a dinner organised by key supporter and state transport minister Govind Singh Rajput.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath who was also supposed to join the dinner kept off. Familiar questions were raised again over whether Scindia will be picked up for one of the Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant in April or he will take the mantle of the PCC chief from Kamal Nath.
Scindia who was to reach at 8 p.m. arrived an hour late.
At the end of the party Rajput said it was a good get together. Issues about party welfare and administrative matters were discussed.
Asked on the happenings at the party Scindia was guarded in his response. He said development of the state was one of the subjects discussed. He denied any discussion on his nomination to the Rajya Sabha or elevation to the PCC chief’s post.
SP, BSP and Independent MLAs also joined the dinner. Scindia is scheduled to reach the PCC and hold discussions with party workers on Friday morning.
Kamal Nath has been heading the state unit of the Congress since April 2018. He had offered to resign from the post after the party’s disastrous performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The party has not taken a call on the issue yet for want of a consensus.
Scindia’s name keeps cropping up from time to time but gets dropped due to resistance from both the chief minister and his main adversary Digvijaya Singh who is also expecting a re-nomination for Rajya Sabha on the expiry of his six-year term in April. Rajput’s dinner was also seen as part of canvassing on behalf of Scindia for election to Rajya Sabha.
Scindia had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi before the Bhopal visit. The meeting also led to speculation over possible changes in the party.
Scindia has been marginalized in the party after losing the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He will be on tour for four days. Appointments for various corporations and boards may be finalised to appease party legislators who have not been able to make it to the ministry. Ashok Singh who lost the Gwalior Lok Sabha elections to Vivek Shejwalkar has been appointed the administrator of the Apex Cooperative Bank.
On Thursday, Singh’s post was elevated to the rank of cabinet minister. The order is effective since January 14. More appointments are likely in near future, say party sources. (IANS)