October 3, 2023

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Congress refutes BJP’s claim, says Kamal Nath to be CM face in MP

Bhopal : With the BJP trying hard to highlight the differences within the Congress over the Chief Ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh, the latter has refuted the claims and indicated that their leader is decided.

As the Assembly election nears, the two national political parties — BJP and Congress — have prepared their cadres for a heated and cut-throat political fight to grab the centre of the Hindi heartland.

Besides strengthening the poll preparations like — formulation of strategies, election manifestos, social media and IT cells, election war rooms and frequent visits of central leadership, a psychological war to weaken the political opponent has also begun from both sides.

For the last few days, the state BJP unit has been hitting the Congress by saying that the opposition ‘is divided into factions’ and ‘lacks unanimity’ on Kamal Nath as the Chief Ministerial face. Nath has been leading the MP unit since the last Assembly election in 2018 and under his leadership, the Congress had managed to return to power after a gap of 15 years, however, a major crisis broke out within the grand-old party which resulted in its collapse within a period of 15 months.

Senior BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who hardly misses any opportunity to hit out at the Congress leaders said Kamal Nath has “declared himself as the chief ministerial candidate, whereas his other party colleagues are not in agreement.”

“Kamal Nath has declared himself as Swayambhu Chief Minister, but not his other party colleagues. Rahul Gandhi has also avoided the question on Kamal Nath as the Chief Ministerial face. Digvijaya Singh could not say it directly, which is why he expressed his view through Govind Singh (LoP). It is a clear indication of factionalism within the Congress,” Mishra said on Wednesday while briefing the press.

It all started after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi following a meeting with a group of Congress leaders from Madhya Pradesh in New Delhi, said, “We are going to repeat Karnataka in Madhya Pradesh. We will win 150.” However, he had avoided the question on whether Kamal Nath would be the vCM face in MP. Instead, he had reiterated that – “We are going to win 150 seats in Madhya Pradesh.”

Notably, on May 29, top Congress leaders from Madhya Pradesh met party chief Mallikarjun Kharge at the AICC headquarters in Delhi over the preparations for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state, which was also attended by Rahul Gandhi.

Following that meeting, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) here in Madhya Pradesh responding to the same query of the press persons said, “Kuchh log tau mera bhi name lete hai. Samarthak log apne apne neta ko CM banana chahte hai. Kuchh log to mera bhi name le rahe hai, lekin mai neta nahi, party worker hun (some are taking my name also, supporters do that, but I am not the leader, I am a party worker).”

And from here, the BJP leaders, especially Narottam Mishra attacked the opposition, claiming it was riddled with factionalism. However, two-time former CM and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh, who had in February this year mentioned that “Kamal Nath will be the Chief Ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh ” has maintained the same. Also, amid the fresh debate on this issue, Singh has said, “99 per cent of people of Madhya Pradesh want to see Kamal Nath as the Chief Minister. There should be no doubt about it.”

several senior MP Congress leaders on this issue, and received almost a similar reply that – “the issue is being given importance unnecessarily. Kamal Nath is the unopposed face for the Chief Ministerial post. A senior Congress leader, who was the minister in Kamal Nath’s 15-month government on condition of anonymity said, “It is being done deliberately to get some weightage and those who are doing such things are also well aware of it.”

However, highly placed sources in the Congress that Kamal Nath will be the chief ministerial face in Madhya Pradesh and it was clear several months ago. “See, there are other states also where the Assembly elections are scheduled along with Madhya Pradesh. If the Central leadership announces the CM face for Madhya Pradesh, then voices would be raised from other states also, where things are not very much clear like in Madhya Pradesh.”

A Delhi-based senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha MP said the debate over Chief Ministerial face is not new and it would continue until the elections are held. He further asserted that Kamal Nath might face challenge from two leaders — Ajay Singh (son of late Arjun Singh) and Rau (Indore) MLA Jitu Patwari, but both have to secure their own seats first.

“There are two strong leaders in MP Congress – Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh and they both are well capable of bringing the party back into power. If Digvijaya Singh is very much clear on this as he has mentioned, then there is no other leader in Madhya Pradesh who can challenge Kamal Nath’s leadership. Ajay Singh has already lost the last election, and people do not take Jitu Patwari seriously,” former Rajya Sabha MP, who is considered close to Sonia Gandhi and earlier severed in prominent posts in AICC on condition of anonymity.

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