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Rahul Gandhi might drop Scindia bombshell in Madhya Pradesh, Sindia role in MP election 2013

Rahul Gandhi might drop Scindia bombshell in Madhya Pradesh.


BHOPAL: Rahul Gandhi may still be a reluctant prince on the national stage, but he's ready to break the grand old party's tradition in Madhya Pradesh. The Gandhi scion may announce Jyotiraditya Scindia as the party's chief ministerial face at a mammoth rally in Gwalior on October 17. This could be a revolutionary attempt by Rahul to take on BJP's Brand Chouhan.

Rahul will kick off his election campaign for the assembly polls with a rally in Gwalior and another in Shahdol on the same day. His second visit is scheduled for October 24, when he will speak at public meetings in Rahatgarh in Sagar district and Indore.

State Congress leaders argued there is a great probability that Rahul will "directly or indirectly" project Jyotiraditya Scindia as the party's official face opposite BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan at the Union minister's home turf in Gwalior. The Scindia faction is working relentlessly to mobilise crowds that could display the Union minister's strength in his backyard to match up to the ruling BJP's mahakumbh in Bhopal, which was addressed by the party's PM-in-waiting Narendra Modi.

"It is unusual for Congress to declare a chief minister probable before elections. But it has been done before," a state Congress leader told TOI. "In January 2012, Rahul announced Punjab PCC president Amarinder Singh as the party's chief ministerial candidate at an election rally in Ferozepur. He had categorically said Amarinder Singh will become chief minister if Congress is voted to power. The same might be repeated in Gwalior so that it becomes a direct Chouhan versus Scindia fight."

Congress leaders explained Scindia is already the undeclared chief ministerial candidate. "He is being given the longest time to speak at public meetings. When he plans a Jan Aakrosh rally, all senior central leaders are present from AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, Union minister for urban development Kamal Nath, Suresh Pachauri, PCC chief Kantilal Bhuria and leader of Opposition Ajay Singh.

It is already clear that Scindia is our leader, but the official announcement will help the party to mobilise workers and send a message to voters about an alternative to Chouhan,'' a PCC office-bearer argued.

It is a tradition in Congress not to declare a chief ministerial candidate one month before polls as it could discourage workers led by other leaders. "But this time, the party is in a Catch-22 situation.

After two electoral routs in Madhya Pradesh, a third defeat could spell disaster for the party. Even rival faction chiefs are worried that if 2013 is another debacle, it would be hard for them to retain supporters. While BJP is telling voters to look at Shivraj and vote for the lotus symbol, the Congress can no longer appear to be undecided on its leadership," a sitting MLA said.


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