Bhopal: After Chhattisgarh, the Congress has started search for a new party chief in Madhya Pradesh with focus on a clutch of leaders from the tribal community whose support was crucial in propelling it to power last year.
At present, Chief Minister Kamal Nath is also the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC). Late last month, the Congress appointed tribal leader Mohan Markam as president of its Chhattisgarh unit.
Since then, speculation is rife that the MPCC, too, will get a tribal leader as its head. The Nath camp is pitching for Home Minister Bala Bachchan, a tribal leader, as the MPCC chief, party sources said.
On the other hand, supporters of Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia want to see Umang Singhar, also an adivasis, at the helm of the state unit, they said.
Former Union minister Suresh Pachouris
However, Singhar, also a minister, is said to be facing resistance from supporters of Congress veteran and former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, the sources said.
Former Union minister Suresh Pachouris opinion will also be considered when making the crucial appointment, a Congress leader said.
In case state Congress stalwarts dont reach a consensus on either Bachchan or Singhar, another tribal or a young leader may be chosen for the post, the sources said.
Nath (72), who became the MPCC president in April last year, two days ago had said the Madhya Pradesh Congress would shortly get a new chief. He had later left for New Delhi to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Since the last two days, state party leaders are camping in New Delhi and holding talks with the high command to reach a consensus over the new state president.
Nath had offered to resign from the MPCC president’s post after taking over as chief minister in December last year. However, the Congress high command had asked him to continue in the post.
After the Congress’s humiliating defeat in the general elections, in which it could win just one ofthe 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh, Nath had again offered to quit the party post.
Congress general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh Dipak Babaria declined to comment over the issue. “I am on the way to Delhi to attend an AICC meeting, he told PTI over the phone from the national capital.
Forty-seven assembly seats in MP were reserved for tribals, who constitute 21 per cent of the state’s population of 7.5 crore. In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress had won around 30 of these tribal reserved seats.
Currently, Madhya Pradesh has four ministers from the tribal community – Bachchan, Singhar, Omkar Singh Markam (tribal affairs) and Surendra Singh (tourism).