Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in Delhi for a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, today denied any trouble with Jyotiraditya Scindia amid reports of a tussle over who will lead the Congress in the state.
"I don't think Jyotiraditya Scindia is unhappy," Kamal Nath, who is currently state Congress chief, told reporters after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi at her home.
He said discussions focused on the organization in Madhya Pradesh and the fact that a new state chief must be appointed after the Lok Sabha elections. "I have said this repeatedly and I brought this up again," said the Chief Minister.
Asked about a report that Mr Scindia had threatened to "look for other options" if he wasn't given the top job, Kamal Nath replied, "I don't think it's right and I don't think he is angry with anyone."
Speaking to NDTV, the Chief Minister said names were discussed for a new chief but it was decided that a wider consultation would take place. "I am ready to work with anyone appointed," he said.
Speculation about Mr Scindia's resentment has been fueled by his recent comments in support of the government's decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. On record, he has said there is "no question" of leaving the party.
But a group of his supporters have gone public with a threat to quit the Congress if he is not made state chief. "If Jyotiraditya Scindia is kept away from state politics, then I, along with 500 people, will resign from the party," said Congress leader Ashok Dangi in a press statement.
Mr Scindia has reportedly been angling for the job ever since the Congress won the Madhya Pradesh election in December and Kamal Nath took over as Chief Minister. Mr Scindia was not named as his deputy, despite much buzz, but he was rewarded with a prestigious assignment - leading the Uttar Pradesh campaign for the national election along with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
In the national election, the Congress lost all but one Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh, failing to capitalise on its assembly election gains. Mr Scindia lost from his long-time constituency Guna. The lone seat that the Congress won was that contested by Kamal Nath's son Nakul Nath.
Another key Madhya Pradesh leader, Digvijaya Singh, also lost from Bhopal. He is believed to be backing another candidate, Ajay Singh, the son of Congress veteran Arjun Singh, for the state party chief's post.
For now, the Congress has tasked Mr Scindia with screening candidates for the Maharashtra polls later this year.
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