Bhopal: Disgruntled Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders Arif Aqueel and Manak Agarwal have challenged party state unit president Arun Yadav to contest the forthcoming bypoll from Dewas Assembly seat and test his popularity.
"The state party chief is very popular and is the most suitable candidate for contesting the upcoming bypoll from Dewas as the party has no other equally strong candidate to be fielded from the seat," Aqueel and Manak, taking a potshot at Yadav, told PTI.
"He is very popular and his ancestors have done a lot of work in that area. Therefore, he is the best candidate for contesting bypoll from Dewas," Aqueel said.
The bypoll to Dewas Assembly seat is necessitated following the demise of sitting BJP MLA Tukoji Rao Puar. The date for the bypoll is yet to be announced.
Aqueel, the Congress' lone Muslim MLA in Madhya Pradesh, had recently threatened to resign over "humiliation" he is facing in the party unit. This prompted the state leadership to seek intervention of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to retain him in the party fold.
Aqueel and Manak are loyalists of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, and they reportedly do not get along with state unit president Arun Yadav, believed to be from the camp of senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Aqueel, a five-time MLA and former minister, is reportedly disgruntled since he was not considered for the post of vice-president in the recently constituted state Congress executive committee.
Congress has 57 MLAs in the 230-member House.