Congress, India's "grand old party", fell victim to an embarassing mistake in Madhya Pradesh, whereby the party "elected" an ex-Congress member, currently in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s ranks, for a Youth Congress post in the state.
Harshit Singhai, now a BJP worker, was left startled on this day when he received congratulatory messages over his "election" to a new post as the secretary of the Jabalpur unit of the Youth Congress.
Singhai had left the Congress back in March, along with a group of defectors who followed veteran leader Jyotiraditya Scindia's footsteps and switched camps over from the Congress to the BJP.
However, reports state that the Congress' records had not reflected that change even after nine months, triggering pointing critiques over the party's long-alleged disconnect with ground realities.
The post that Singhai was "elected" for was that of the secretary of the Jabalpur North assembly constituency of the MP Youth Congress. Singhai received 12 votes and was declared as the secretary on December 18, in the MP Youth Congress elections that were held between December 10-12.
That none of the leaders paid attention to the fact that Singhai was not in the party anymore is baffling, to say the least.
According to an NDTV report, an incredulous Harshit Singhai called the goof-up "laughable" and said that no one was interested in the polls and yet he was elected the general secretary.
"I filled in my nomination for the Youth Congress polls three years ago," the report quotes him as saying. He added that the polls kept getting delayed, at first due to the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly Election and later, due to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls next year.
The Congress, for its part, however, has called the incident a "cheap publicity stunt". According to a report by Hindustan Times, MP Youth Congress election coordinator Maqsood Mirza said that Singhai "didn't withdraw his nomination purportedly".
"The election process was held online and nobody paid attention as there were more than 1800 nominations and Singhai was not a popular leader,” the report quotes Mirza as saying.
However, in response to this allegation, Singhai has said that he had requested the party to drop his name from the Youth Congress polls but "nothing was done". Letters were also sent to the then Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, he said, but to no end.