Chouhan’s floor test sends a wrong signal: Vivek Tankha

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha.

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

‘Congress should rejig and rebuild itself’, he says

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha on Tuesday criticised the newly sworn in Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for taking a floor test amidst a nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Mr. Tankha, who fought against the Chouhan government over the Vyapam scam in the Supreme Court as a senior advocate, asserted that “nobody was challenging his [Mr Chouhan's] majority”.

He said, “A wrong gets legitimised, in a wrong manner and at a wrong time, which sends a very wrong signal to society.”

Mr. Tankha was also forthright about the shortcomings of his party in M.P. and the 15-month old Kamal Nath government. “The Congress should rejig and rebuild itself, remembering that it was the BJP that had lost in 2018 [Assembly Elections] and we had not won the battle convincingly,” he observed.

Though civil society groups, activists and farmers ensured the “ascendancy of the Congress”, the State leadership didn't quite reward them by making them stakeholders in the government. “The start itself was wrong. The first principle of politics is sharing and we had seven alliance partners. From day one, I had been saying about accommodating them more than our own people. But there were no takers for this argument,” he stated.

The senior Congress leader from M.P. asserted that not all 22 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) were loyalists of Congress-rebel-turned BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Three categories

“While all of them may have been allured, the MLAs fell into three categories. One group was die-hard Scindia loyalists, while the second group was the lot made up by senior Congress leaders who were disenchanted. The third group was the one that is supposed to have gone entirely because of alleged allurements,” he said.

Mr. Tankha, who tried to broker peace between the dissident group and his party, said the State leadership, including Mr. Nath and Digvijaya Singh may have ‘misread the signs of discontent’. “They knew that things were not alright and something was amiss but perhaps they didn't realise the magnitude of the problem.”

Asked about the rampant factionalism in M.P. Congress, he stated that it had a ‘long history’ but it was never an impediment for senior leaders like Mr. Scindia, Mr. Singh or Mr. Nath to work together. “I wish they had worked it out together,” he said when asked if Mr. Scindia's exit could have been stopped.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 7:56:19 PM |

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