Congress will follow ‘Karnataka model’ in MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan

Top 5Congress will follow ‘Karnataka model’ in MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan

NEW DELHI: The Congress will contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan by following, what its supporters have termed as the “Karnataka model”. According to this model, regional leaders will have the maximum say while deciding on the nuances of campaigning and ticket distribution.
In Madhya Pradesh, the party leadership has made it clear that the last word in every decision will be Kamal Nath’s. This has also come to be accepted by Digvijaya Singh, who is the other tall Congress leader in the state.
Similarly, in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has been given a complete free hand, with the top leadership making it clear that they will not intervene in the state unless there is an issue “big” enough that requires the central leadership to arbitrate. His internal rivalry with T.S. Singh Deo is now a story of the past, with Deo accepting, albeit reluctantly, that he will have to play second fiddle to Baghel, who is now amongst the tallest Congress leaders in the country.
In Rajasthan, the rebellion by Sachin Pilot has made the job of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra easier. Despite being upset over the political moves that were made by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last year during the party president’s election, the Gandhis will not intervene in Rajasthan and will let the CM decide how the party will fight the elections in which it will be trying to stop the trend of the incumbent power being voted out every five years.
In all these three states, no two tall leaders are fighting amongst themselves as was the case in Karnataka where Siddaramaiah and D.K. Shivakumar were running their own respective camps till six months before the elections.
The example of the local leadership being given an important say as far as the modalities in their own states are concerned can be gauged from the fact that the central leadership, so far, has not imposed any order on them to mandatorily use the service of professional Sunil Kanugolu, who was a part of the core team of Congress in Karnataka.
Sources said that both Baghel and Gehlot showed no inclination to use his service after Kanugolu approached them. Kamal Nath, however, is using him in preparation for the Madhya Pradesh elections. The stance of Baghel and Gehlot might change after the Karnataka election results.
Kanugolu works through two companies, Mindshare Analytics and Inclusive Minds. The latter company exclusively works for the Congress. The Bellari, Karnataka-born Kanugolu earlier led the Association of Brilliant Minds, which had worked with the BJP.
According to party leaders, both Gehlot and Baghel believe in the “old-style” of campaigning and preparing for elections in which they trust their own assessment while deciding on who should be given the ticket and who shouldn’t.
In contrast, Kamal Nath, who is also a successful industrialist, is banking on Kanugolu to give him a well detailed dossier and PPTs showing the weak and the strong points of the party and leaders in Madhya Pradesh.
“Kamal Nath has engaged professionals on his own accord. There was no compulsion on him. He likes taking inputs from multiple sources. Ultimately, he will decide the candidate, I don’t think the inputs by any professional will play a huge role in that,” said a senior party leader who has known the former MP CM for a long time.

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