Dropped from the newly constituted MP Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) executive, MLA Arif Aqueel and Manak Agrawal on Monday dared the state Congress chief Arun Yadav to contest the by-election from Dewas assembly constituency and prove his mass base and political prowess.
A close aide of former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Agrawal and Aqueel failed to find a berth in the PCC executive body, which was declared by Yadav on September 4.
Aqueel, who is hopeful of a favourable decision from the party’s central leadership in next two to three days, made a veiled attack on the party’s state chief for successive electoral defeats in the by-elections and local bodies’ elections.
“If he wrests the traditional BJP seat (Dewas),…sceptics who find him immature to lead the party, would be silenced and not only his political prowess, but his mass base would be proved. We shall obviously accept him as our leader and also all his decisions,” said the five-time MLA, who has threatened to quit the party if the central leadership did not accommodate him in the new PCC executive.
Manak Agrawal, who has often been referred to be the poster boy of the PCC for his regular presence in the committee’s office throughout the day for years together, also lent support to Aqueel’s demand.
“It (the Dewas seat) has been a BJP seat for years. If he contests and wins the seat, Congress party, which has seen defeat after defeat in the elections in recent past, would get a huge morale booster.”
Meanwhile, speculations are rife that the BJP has made lucrative offers to both Aqueel and Agrawal to join the party.
Asked whether he has received any specific offer from the BJP, Aqueel said: “My dear friend, when there is a commodity up there (in the market), there will be buyers too.”
Agrawal, however, cleared the airs and said he would not comment on what the BJP has offered him, but there is no question of him leaving the Congress and joining any other party.
193-member Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) executive was announced on Friday by state Congress chief Arun Yadav
In the newly announced executive, the Digvijaya Singh camp was reduced. The ex-CM’s brother Laxman Singh was reduced to the status of special invitee from vice-president and close aides like Manak Agrawal, Arif Aqueel and Govind Goyal dropped from the executive
The jumbo executive includes 24 special invitees, 18 vice-presidents, 40 general secretaries and 28 permanent invitees, other than atreasurer. The top Congress leaders who are in the list of 28 permanent invitees include Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijaya Singh and Sriniwas Tiwari.