Some senior Congressmen from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have raised the issue of intra-party democracy with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. The issue is likely to be discussed at the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting on Saturday to be presided over by Sonia Gandhi.
However, the issue is likely to cast aspersions on recently-appointed chief ministers Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel. After the uncertainty in Rajasthan – where Ashok Gehlot is being pressurised by Sachin Pilot’s supporters to resign after the dismal Lok Sabha performance – both Nath and Baghel might find the going tough.
Kamal Nath’s mounting predicaments
Nath is in particularly difficult circumstances as audio tapes of his purported conversations, with various people found in the Income Tax raids in the premises of his close associate R.K. Miglani during the course of the general elections, have reportedly been doing the rounds in Bhopal. Nath has denied any relations with any person involved in the collection of funds for elections as alleged by the IT department.
Meanwhile, his father’s institution IMT Ghaziabad has run into trouble as the land, upon which it has been constructed, has been declared as illegally occupied by the Adityanath government. His son Bakul Nath now runs the institution which is rated very highly for its MBA programmes.
Nath’s inability to connect with the electorate in Madhya Pradesh is partly due to his misreading of the circumstances in the aftermath of the assembly election results. He has not been able to adequately send out assurances that he is serious about governance or is willing to bring scamsters to the book.
He has not spoken a word about investigating the Vyapam scam, which took the lives of 52 people and disrupted the careers of thousands of youngsters, especially doctors. This lost him the youth electorate. The middle-class electorate, which cares about issues of policy and governance, was lost soon after he selected S.R. Mohanty – a 1982 batch officer who has not yet been fully exonerated in the infamous ICDS scam – as the chief secretary.
Nath’s strategy to continue with bureaucrats, who held cream postings during the 13-year Shivraj rule in important positions, lost him the support of grass root level Congress workers who expected significant changes within administration. The farm sector was lost as soon as he failed to fulfil his promise of loan waivers.
Nath has also failed to stamp his authority over his MLAs owing to his lopsided cabinet which supports one particular camp. Those in BJP considered close to him, like ex-Congressman Sanjay Pathak and the four Independents, waited for the Lok Sabha results to decide their next step. It is now a given that they are unlikely to switch over to the Congress.