मध्य प्रदेश विधान सभा चुनाव २०१८ : कैसे कांग्रेस ने सुनहरा मौका खोया

Dainik Bhaskar 13 December 2018

MP assembly election 2018: a tale of missed opportunity

NK SINGH

कांग्रेस अगर २०१३ के मुकाबले अपनी सीटों में लगभग दोगुना इजाफा कर पाई है तो इसपर उसे इठलाने की जरूरत नहीं. भले उसे भाजपा से ५ सीटें ज्यादा हासिल हुई हों, पर वोटिंग परसेंटेज देखें तो कांग्रेस को भाजपा से कम वोट मिले हैं!

सही है, पांच साल पहले उसके और भाजपा के बीच आठ परसेंट वोटों का फासला था और उस बड़े अंतर को पाटने में वह कामयाब रही है. पर बहुमत से दो सीट पीछे रह जाना उसे हमेशा सालता रहेगा.

इस खंडित जनादेश के लिए कांग्रेस खुद जिम्मेदार है. वह अपने पत्ते अच्छी तरह खेलती तो नतीजे अलग हो सकते थे. Continue reading “मध्य प्रदेश विधान सभा चुनाव २०१८ : कैसे कांग्रेस ने सुनहरा मौका खोया”

सवर्ण वोट मध्य प्रदेश विधान सभा चुनाव में गेम चेंज़र बन सकते हैं

Dainik Bhaskar 9 October 2018

Upper caste votes may prove game changer in Madhya Pradesh

NK SINGH

विधान सभा चुनाव की विधिवत घोषणा भले ही ६ अक्टूबर को हुई हो, पर मध्यप्रदेश में इसकी बिसात जुलाई में ही बिछ चुकी थी, जब मुख्यमंत्री शिवराज सिंह चौहान ने अपनी जन आशीर्वाद यात्रा शुरु की.

उस दिन से ही भाजपा और कांग्रेस अखाड़े में ताल ठोंक रहे हैं. इन 12 हफ़्तों में प्रदेश की राजनीति ने दो दिलचस्प करवटें ली हैं.

छह अक्टूबर को जिस दिन भाजपा अध्यक्ष अमित शाह और कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष राहुल गाँधी दोनों मध्यप्रदेश के चुनावी दौरे कर रहे थे, दूर लखनऊ में सपा अध्यक्ष अखिलेश यादव कांग्रेस से नाता तोड़ने की घोषणा कर रहे थे: “कब तक इंतजार करें, एमपी में हम चौथे नंबर की पार्टी हैं.”

एक सप्ताह पहले ही बसपा सुप्रीमो मायावती कांग्रेस को बाय-बाय कर चुकी थीं. पिछले चुनाव के आंकड़े बताते हैं कि बसपा के साथ आने से कांग्रेस को लगभग ४५ सीटों पर फायदा मिल सकता था.

समझा जाता था कि भाजपा को हराने के लिए कांग्रेस दूसरी पार्टियों को साथ लेकर इलेक्शन लड़ेगी ताकि सरकार-विरोधी वोटों का बंटवारा न हो.

राजनीति में दो और दो हमेशा चार नहीं होते, चालीस भी हो सकते हैं. परसेप्शन का अपना महत्व होता है. वह हवा बनाने का काम करता है. Continue reading “सवर्ण वोट मध्य प्रदेश विधान सभा चुनाव में गेम चेंज़र बन सकते हैं”

Digvijaya: Phoenix rises from the ashes

DB Post 29 December 2018

NK SINGH

I ‘m not going to fry pakodas,” said Digvijaya Singh when reporters asked him what he intended doing after his six-month Narmada pilgrimage earlier this year.
He is certainly not frying pakodas.
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, he is on the centre-stage of Madhya Pradesh politics once again. As the Congress returns to power after 15 years, the person who benefited the most from the change in political fortunes was Diggi Raja.

Kamal Nath may have walked away with the chief minister’s chair, but it is Singh who is enjoying a sudden surge in power and clout.

In the 28-member Cabinet, some say he has as many as 10 ministers. Others put the number at nine. The newly inducted ministers include his son and nephew.

It is an impressive achievement for someone who had been lying low throughout the election campaign. He was not very visible as many in the Congress party feared that if he straddled centre-stage, the BJP would resume its ‘Mr Bantadhar’ campaign.

The serpentine queues of Congress workers in front of his house are an indication of the general perception that prevails.

As the important task of government formation moves at snail’s pace in the strife-ridden Congress, Singh gains in importance.

With chief minister Kamal Nath engaged in the arduous task of governance, Singh’s famous negotiation and persuasion skills have been put to the test not only in ministry formation, but also in portfolio distribution.

Coordination among the warring factions a task that Singh had chosen for himself has suddenly assumed important status.

Digvijaya Singh’s political career was looking downward when he had asked the Congress high command for six months’ leave of absence for his Narmada pilgrimage last year.

The leadership had relieved him of major responsibilities after Goa fiasco, with the local politicians blaming him for not forming the government despite securing a majority in the Assembly elections.

The man, who was once described as Rahul Gandhi’s mentor, was no longer part of the inner charmed circle.

But washing his sins in the holy waters of the Narmada, Singh reinvented himself.

What helped him was also the chemistry that he enjoys with Nath. Both Nath and Digvijaya Singh received their political grooming from the same guru Arjun Singh.

They have been at loggerhead at times, even gunning for each other. But, whenever challenged by an ‘outsider’, they tended to close ranks.

This is what happened last summer as Digvijaya Singh worked the subterranean world of realpolitik and helped Nath become the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee.

The high command, of course, preferred a collective leadership, rather than putting all its eggs in Nath’s basket. It made Jyotiraditya Scindia the campaign committee chief of the party.

Factional politics is in the genes of the party that had once harboured communists, capitalists, Hindus, Muslims and socialists all under one roof. The warring factions unite only when the party high command cracks the whip.

It was here that Singh smelled an opportunity. With the party high command failing to untangle the knotty leadership issue in Madhya Pradesh, Singh carved out a niche role for himself.

He bestowed upon himself the status of “Fevicol” to unite the fragmented party.

He tried to assuage the apprehensions of other factions: “I’m not a contender for the chief minister’s post.”

What helped him in the task of “coordination” was that he is the only one among the top three of the Madhya Pradesh Congress — Nath, Scindia and Singh — to know the state as the palm of his hand, thanks to the party organisation he helped nurture during the BJP regime in the early-’90s.

The network of party workers that he had assiduously built up as a 45-year-old Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president travelling constantly and living out of a suitcase for nearly two years helped him in this task.

As the Congress failed to achieve the magic figure for forming the government on its own, Digvijaya Singh’s networking skills helped in bringing the Independent MLAs aboard ship.

Again, as the Scindia group staked its claim to chief ministership, Singh threw in his lot with Nath, bringing on board various other groups, such as Arun Yadav, Suresh Pachouri and Ajay Singh.

That clinched the deal in Nath’s favour, who was, in any case, always the front-runner.

So, it was only natural that Singh would emerge powerful in the Nath administration. Let us wait and watch how long the present bonhomie continues.

DB Post 29 December 2018

Continue reading “Digvijaya: Phoenix rises from the ashes”

Kamal Nath’s journey from Davos to Dewas

DB Post 13 Oct 2018

 

NK SINGH

Perched atop Bhopal’s Shamla Hills, the CM House is indeed MP’s power centre.

Just across the road, overlooking the picturesque Upper Lake, stands another colonial bungalow that has emerged as the state’s second power centre.

Only a few feet of asphalt divide the two high profile neighbours.

State Congress president Kamal Nath, the occupant of the other house, has pitched a make-shift tent in its sprawling campus. It is to accommodate the perennial stream of visitors.

The campus resembles a mela ground. Those making a beeline to the house include political leaders, not necessarily from the Congress party, business tycoons and journalists. Some government officials are also in touch.  Continue reading “Kamal Nath’s journey from Davos to Dewas”

The Rise of OBCs in MP Politics

DB Post 11 Aug 18

NK SINGH

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has invoked his OBC status in the run up to the MP assembly elections. He tells the voters that he is the son of a poor farmer from backward class. And that is why raja-maharajas like Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia and business tycoons like Kamal Nath were trying to oust him from power.

The forthcoming election, he says, is a fight between the poor and the backward on one side and the rich and the feudal on the other.

When Kamal Nath reached Bhopal three months ago to take over as MPCC chief, his combat gear consisted of a voluminous document detailing caste composition of each assembly constituency.

His election strategy also hinges on the OBCs, who constitute more than half of the population in the state. The Congress has realised that its traditional dependence on tribal and dalit votes is no longer a guarantee of smooth sailing at the hustings. Continue reading “The Rise of OBCs in MP Politics”