Jyotiraditya Scindia Explains Differences Between 2013 And 2018

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Elections for the 230 seats of Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 28.

Bhopal:

A week ahead of the elections in Madhya Pradesh, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia indicated that the party stands a chance this time because of its greater unity. Asked why the party lost the chance to beat the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in 2013 and what was so different this time, Mr Scindia said, "There is complete unity this time… leaders at all levels and the people know it is a 'do or die' situation".

The assertion comes amid reports that the deep divisions within the party, one of the reasons why the Congress lost the 2013 elections, still persist.

Earlier this month, a meeting to take a call on the candidate list for the elections came to an abrupt end following a spat between Mr Scindia and the party's veteran leader Digvijaya Singh. Sources said both leaders walked out of the party's war-room in Delhi and party chief Rahul Gandhi had to form a three-member committee to resolve the issue.

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Mr Scindia has reiterated his denial about any such event. "I think it is a BJP conspiracy to sow divisiveness where there is amity," he said.

Elections for the 230 seats of Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 28. The Congress, which has been out of power in the state for 15 years, has been banking on what they say is extensive anti-incumbency in the state. The state government, they say, has failed all key fronts, including job creation, relief for farmers and law and order.

The Congress sustained huge losses in 2013, going from 71 seats to 58. The trend continued in next year's general elections. But in last year's municipal elections, the party registered gains in urban areas.

Its failure to form an alliance with Mayawati, however, is seen as one of the factors that might prove expensive. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party has influence in a section of seats, as well as the state's Scheduled Caste voters. In a state where, data shows, a five per cent swing can make a big difference in the outcome, it is seen as an error on part of the party.

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