The Madhya Pradesh Congress had decided to rope in Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot to give a leg-up to its campaign for byelection to 28 Assembly seats, party spokespersons said.
It is confirmed Mr. Pilot will visit constituencies to campaign for the candidates, said K.K. Mishra, the partys media incharge in the Gwalior-Chambal region, heading for contest on 16 seats.
The leader had heeded the request of candidates and his presence in the region would be crucial for the Congress given the caste equations locally, Mr. Mishra explained. The region has a sizeable Gurjar vote, the community to which Mr. Pilot belongs.
When asked about Mr. Pilots programme, Mr. Mishra said it was too early to comment on that. The Election Commission of India is yet to declare dates for the byelection, to be held simultaneously with the Bihar Assembly election. Of the 28 seats, 25 were vacated by Congress legislators who switched over to the BJP, while three fell vacant owing to deaths of sitting MLAs.
The Gwalior-Chambal region is considered a stronghold of Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Congressman and colleague of Mr. Pilot, whose defection along with 22 Congress MLAs in March brought down the 15-month Kamal Nath government.
The Congress is highlighting betrayal of the rebels to woo voters in the region. Recently, Mr. Pilot, former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, too had rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, but later affirmed his allegiance to the Congress.
Mr. Pilot will be a star campaigner for the party, said Bhupendra Gupta, Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesman. Even during the political turmoil, he didnt go anywhere. He stated his opinions within the party fora. Even previously he and his father have lent support to candidates in Madhya Pradesh.