In a sensational pre-poll development, the Congress has blinked over the potency of party president Rahul Gandhi to deliver election victory in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
As per Republic TV sources, the Congress is not sure about Rahul Gandhi's performance, and has hence, once again, attempted to rope in leaders from other states to lead its charge as it attempts to wrest away the state from the BJP and long-time chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Accordingly, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani and former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar have been chosen by the Congress to hold collective and individual rallies ahead of the elections.
The shift in the Congress strategy harkens back to the 2017 Gujarat elections when the BJP had alleged that the Congress had 'outsourced its leadership' to Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor. Thakor has formally joined the Congress and is an MLA. The trio had headlined a number of campaign activities, including bike rallies, but the gamble appeared to not have paid off as the BJP emerged with a single majority despite anti-incumbency and purported discontent among business owners resulting from the then-recent rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The Congress' campaign for the state of Madhya Pradesh, which will go to polls for all 230 assembly seats on November 28, has been beset by near constant leadership wrangles, despite the party having a number of senior leaders in the state, including former MP CM Digvijaya Singh, Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and former UPA minister Kamal Nath. Scindia and Digvijaya Singh had earlier engaged in a blistering row over seat-sharing at a high-level election meeting where Rahul Gandhi was also present.
Meanwhile, even as the Congress is bringing in reinforcements to augment its Madhya Pradesh campaign, the BJP has planned for the Prime Minister to hold at least 11 rallies in the state in the lead up to election day.
Results for the Madhya Pradesh elections, along with those in Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh (where Phase 1 of 2 was completed on Monday) will be announced on December 11, 2018.