Madhya Pradesh Congress Faces Turmoil Over OBC Representation

Internal Dissent and Allegations of Nepotism Rock Party Ahead of State Elections

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Madhya Pradesh Congress Faces Turmoil Over OBC Representation

21st October 2023,Mumbai: Damodar Singh’s Fiery Protest

In a surprising turn of events, Damodar Singh, the Madhya Pradesh state vice-president of the Congress Party, took to burning effigies of senior party members Digvijaya Singh and his son Jaivardhan Singh in Bhopal. His actions were fueled by allegations that the party had not fielded enough candidates from the Other Backward Class (OBC) as he had strongly advocated for. In response, he announced his resignation from the party and his intention to field candidates in 15 constituencies. Damodar Singh’s supporters took to protesting outside the party’s office in Bhopal, echoing his concerns about OBC representation and the party’s image.

Accusations of Backward Class Underrepresentation

Damodar Singh, who served as the state president of the party’s OBC unit, accused Digvijaya Singh of allocating only 55 seats out of his request for 126 for the backward classes in Madhya Pradesh. He pointed out the familial ties within the party leadership and questioned how the interests of the backward classes would be served with such decisions. Singh drew attention to the fact that constituencies with populations as low as five lakh were given 35 seats, while the backward class, with a population of approximately 3.5 crore in the state, was allotted only 55 seats. This stark contrast led to increasing discontent and prompted his bold actions.

Protests by Former Congress MLA Antar Singh Darbar

Former Congress MLA from Mhow, Antar Singh Darbar, also expressed his grievances through protest. His concerns centered on the party’s selection of Ram Kishore Shukla as a candidate for a seat, who had recently defected from the BJP to join the Congress merely a month ago. Shukla had spent 20 years with the BJP before making the switch, which raised questions about the party’s candidate selection process. Darbar emphasized that, despite these concerns, every seat was crucial for the party’s efforts to form a government led by Kamal Nath in the state.

Shukla’s Response and Party Unity

Ram Kishore Shukla, the newly inducted Congress member and candidate, defended his choice to join the party and receive a ticket. He declared his loyalty to the Congress and its cause, emphasizing that every seat was vital for the party’s success in Madhya Pradesh. Shukla conveyed his commitment to working together with Darbar and other party members to secure electoral victories. He maintained that the Congress party remained united, despite these internal disputes.

BJP’s Accusations Against Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh

In response to the internal strife within the Congress, BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan pointed fingers at Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, suggesting that they were promoting their sons’ political careers at the expense of the party’s interests. Chouhan asserted that the Congress had turned the elections into a platform for the future of Nakul Nath, the son of former CM Kamal Nath, and Jaivardhan Singh, the son of Digvijaya Singh. He alleged that Kamal Nath had taken charge of distributing Congress tickets and was favoring Nakul Nath’s rise in the party. Simultaneously, Digvijaya Singh was being accused of advancing Jaivardhan’s political career. Chouhan’s statements shed light on the ongoing internal power struggles and political maneuvers within the Congress party, emphasizing the significance of the forthcoming elections in Madhya Pradesh.

In the run-up to the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, the Congress party finds itself grappling with internal conflicts and allegations of inadequate representation for the Other Backward Classes. Damodar Singh’s dramatic protest and subsequent resignation, along with Antar Singh Darbar’s dissent, highlight the deep-seated tensions within the party. These issues not only threaten party unity but also provide ammunition for rival parties, like the BJP, to critique the Congress’s leadership decisions. The coming elections in Madhya Pradesh will undoubtedly be a critical moment for the Congress party, as it seeks to reconcile these internal divisions and present a unified front to the voters.

-by Kashvi Gala

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