I am open to talks if anyone has genuine grievances: MP Cong chief

  • Ashutosh Shukla, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 19, 2014 15:55 IST

As the Congress battles open dissent over ticket distribution ahead of civic polls, state Congress chief Arun Yadav believes generational change in the party leadership would entail birth pangs as well but it’s desirable in the long run to revive the party on the grassroots. The party has given tickets to the young and if it’s creating a little hue and cry, I don’t mind it, he says, adding as far as voice of dissent from Manak Agrawal, Premchand ‘Guddu’ or Dr Govind Singh is concerned, party has given them so much, why should they be dissatisfied?

Excerpts of his interview with Ashutosh Shukla a couple of hours before the Congress unveiled its manifesto for the civic body polls:

Congress leaders are saying you have been able to do what no PCC president could ever do. You distributed all the tickets for the civic polls on your own.

It’s not true. There was a three-tier system in place. There were state observers, central observers and then a committee headed by Sajjan Singh Verma. Based on their recommendation, tickets have been distributed. We had given mandate to MPs and MLAs also to choose candidates from their area but they were not allowed to choose just about anyone. Name of their candidate should also have found place in the list of committees.

Committees are always formed and observers are also appointed at he time of an election. Your party leaders are surprised at the way you neglected senior party leaders in ticket distribution.

No, it’s not true.

But there were reports that you didn’t meet or talk to Digvijaya Singh during his recent visit to Bhopal although all the three leaders who have resigned from your executive are his men.

No, I did meet him. As far as Manak Agrawal, Premchand ‘Guddu’ or Dr Govind Singh are concerned, party has given them so much — posts, ticket everything. Why should they be dissatisfied? If there is some issue, they should have raised it in party forum. I am open to talk to anyone if he/she has any genuine grievances.

Don’t you think dissent over ticket distribution could take a heavy toll on party prospects in civic elections?

Among major civic bodies, we only had Dewas in the previous term. We can only better our position this time round. There are massive corruption charges and charges of maladministration against BJP-led urban bodies.

But, chief minister in his campaign is saying everywhere that you have ‘sold’ tickets. How would you fight on corruption plank?

He needs to look within. He has give ticket to a builder in Sagar despite massive opposition from BJP rank and file, speaker is not happy with candidate from Hoshangabad and ex-minister Nagendra Singh is opposing candidate in Khajuraho. As far as dissent in Congress is concerned, there is a pattern. You, yourself, said those who resigned have affiliation to one leader.

So, you feel more or less party is all geared up for civic polls.

You see, it is for the first time that we have been able to give party mandate (form b) to all our candidates. Even during Digvijaya Singh’s regime, it was free for all despite party being in power.

Civic polls or any poll is an occasions to test your strength. But , your ultimate goal must be to revive the party in MP.

Yes. Of course and that’s why all this is happening. A generational change in leadership in the state is a must. We have, therefore, tried to give ticket to young people. If it causes a little hue and cry, I don’t mind it. And BJP would do well to see the crowd of ticket seekers at the PCC before talking of ‘Congress Mukta’ MP. We are still a force to reckon with in MP.

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