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Madhya Pradesh: State leaders steer Cong well past dependence on a national face

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Sunday March 19, 2023 11:19 AM, Praveen Dwivedi, IANS

Madhya Pradesh: State leaders steer Cong well past dependence on a national face

Bhopal: After witnessing a deeper crisis including being ousted from the government in March 2020, in the last couple of years the Madhya Pradesh Congress has tried hard to revive its cadre and to end the growing narrative of its shrinking political ground.

Amid the crisis within the grand old party, the Congress will be more dependent on its state leadership unlike the BJP during the upcoming assembly elections due later this year.


Factionalism in Congress

Senior Congress leaders, who also played the strategy makers' role for the Madhya Pradesh Congress, claimed that the party is not worried if some of its leaders switched to the BJP or some other political parties in the coming days.

A senior Congress functionary, talking to IANS, said there are several such instances when the party has gone through a deep crisis in the past also, but it has revived again.

More importantly, despite one after another political jolt and factionalism among some top leaders, the guidance by the party's two veteran leaders with vast political experience -- state party chief Kamal Nath and two-time ex-CM Digvijaya Singh -- seems to have made the cadre take on the ruling BJP strongly again.

Morale of Cong cadre high

With the Assembly elections only six months away, the Congress seems to have prepared itself to challenge the BJP's two-decade rule in Madhya Pradesh. Political observers said the Congress protested on the roads on every public issue, especially unemployment, growing corruption and crime, farmers etc.

"Despite losing power in March 2020, what was more noticeable was that the Congress became more aggressive. In that situation, keeping the morale of its cadre high was undoubtedly a challenging task for the party's leadership, but somehow they did it and they received positive results in the urban body elections. It is an established fact that if a political party will fight on public issues on the roads instead of sitting in air conditioned rooms, people will support it," said a political observer.

Political observers also claimed that there is a general perception from the top to the bottom level Congress workers in Madhya Pradesh that they have fought on their own, and the situation for them is not akin to the BJP.

"At present the Congress does not have a charismatic leadership at the Centre like the BJP has Prime Minister Narendra Modi and MP's Congress cadre is well aware of it. Secondly, in the Madhya Pradesh Congress, the state leadership has a higher impact than the central leadership," said a senior journalist, requesting not to be named.

Even some party workers also accept that not only the frontline leaders -- Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh -- but some others who have a strong hold in their region, have more impact than any top face from the central leadership of the Congress.

"It is because the local leaders are fighting on the roads and interacting with the people on a regular basis. Therefore, people are connected closely with their local leaders," said a district level Congress worker.


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