New Delhi: There is a nip in the air in Delhi and many in the city are out to enjoy the pre-winter chill. However, the temperature inside the Congress war room in the city on Thursday was hot, to put it mildly. A meeting that was supposed to discuss the candidate list for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election turned out to be a shouting match between two rivals, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh, even as Congress president Rahul Gandhi looked on helplessly.

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So what happened inside? Scindia pitched for his candidates for the majority of the seats in Madhya Pradesh. At this point, Digvijaya objected of many ‘loyal’ Congress cadres being ignored. Scindia shot back rather than reasoning with his rival. Probably that is understandable because of the acrimonious relation they share. Digvijaya lost his cool at this point and raised the tone.

Though Digvijaya was quick to dismiss the allegations, calling them "wrongly reported", more than one Congressman privy to what happened inside the war room confirmed of a verbal spat between the two leaders. A senior Congress functionary from Delhi who worked with Digvijaya when the veteran Congress leader toured Uttar Pradesh with Rahul said, “I cannot say what happened inside as I wasn’t there. But knowing how frustrated he has been ever since his Narmada yatra, I won’t be surprised if (the spat) indeed took place”.

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An upset Rahul didn’t take any sides realising the sensitivity of the situation. But he did commission a three-member committee comprising Ashok Gehlot, Veerappa Moily and Ahmed Patel — all old hands of the Congress — to resolve the crisis amicably and reach a consensus on finalising the candidates.

On Wednesday, a letter purportedly written by Congress general secretary Digvijaya to former Congress president Sonia Gandhi was doing the rounds, in which he reportedly claimed that the ticket distribution system has been turned into a ‘dhanda’ (business). He also pitched for 57 aspirants from his camp. Though he vehemently denied writing the letter, it gave the BJP a chance to mock the Congress about its dissensions within. BJP’s Kailash Vijayvargiya, later that night, sent out a tweet claiming that it was Digvijaya himself who was behind the letter.

It’s not a secret that all is not well within the Congress, when it comes to Madhya Pradesh. Not only has the two-term chief minister Digvijaya been kept at arm’s length by both Scindia nd Kamal Nath, the relation between Scindia and Nath is not very healthy either. One a tribal leader from Chhindwara, another a leader of royal descent, both Nath and Scindia are claimants for the post of chief minister. It’s precisely the reason the Congress hasn’t announced its chief ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh so far.

If this wasn’t enough, another Congress leader Suresh Pachauri has his own set of candidates to push, even as Nath, by virtue of being the MPPCC president, wants to push people belonging to his camp. Not to forget that the Madhya Pradesh Congress unit has four working presidents, who are also trying to fit in people who swear allegiance to them.

In this context, BJP’s central election committee met for hours at 6 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg in New Delhi to decide upon 177 names for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, and this slugfest between Digvijaya and Scindia was the last thing, Rahul Gandhi would want.