Out of power in MP for the past 10 years and desperate to wrest power from the ruling BJP in the coming assembly elections, earlier this month, the Congress made a strategic move. It named Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, with his squeaky clean image and popular appeal, the party’s campaign committee chairman in the state.
Ever since he undertook the new responsibility, the 42-year-old has been touring from one end of the state to the other, addressing on an average three to four meetings a day, besides holding road shows. Vijay Swaroop caught up with the young leader on the sidelines of one of his road shows for some poll-talk.
What is going to be the main thrust of your election campaign?
Is there a shortage of issues? There are many things that need to be addressed…corruption, breakdown of law and order, lack of development, very bad social indicators. We need to improve the overall situation in the state.
With a youth leader taking charge will the state see more representation of youth?
We are all working together to ensure that we bring Congress back in government here and obviously the youth have a very important role to play. We definitely want to give new fresh faces an opportunity.
And what about all those young people on the other side? How do you hope to get the votes of the state’s first-time voters, who comprise 18.91% of the total electorate?
The issues we are addressing have to do with productivity in agriculture, infrastructure, employment…everything that touches the youth. We are concerned about the restoration of law and order. MP today has a very high crime rate --- close to 10% of all crimes in the country take place here, 14% of rapes and 44% abortions. We need to take these statistics very seriously and work to create a safe and secure environment or else competitive development is impossible. We promise to address all that.
Many feel that your nomination as state campaign committee chief came a bit late?
I don’t want to talk about the past. At the moment I am tasked with an important initiative and I have the blessings of the seniors. We are working together in unity and cohesion.
You have been doing mass contact programmes since February. Any difference since you took over?
Such comparisons are a waste of time. My job is to ensure that I contribute to the development and economic growth of Madhya Pradesh. And mass contact programmes are one way of reaching out to people with the party agenda.