Updated: May 1, 2018 11:04:17 pm
Months before Madhya Pradesh goes to vote for assembly elections, former union minister Kamal Nath formally took over as president of the state unit of the Congress on Tuesday. The Congress veteran got all the regional satraps together and displayed his organization muscle by getting hundreds of vehicles and supporters to participate in his cavalcade from the airport to the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) office and along Link Road No 1, on a scale not managed by the Opposition party in recent years.
“Shjivraj ji ghoshnaona ka samay khatam ho gaya hisab kitab dene ka samay aa gaya hai (Shivrajji time for sloganeering is over, it’s time to give an account (of governance),’’ the Chhindwara Lok Sabha member told a rally outside the PCC office, suggesting that the party was confident of winning the state it lost to the BJP in 2003-end. He accused Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of engaging in politics of sloganeering, promises and kalakari.
In the same breath, he advised party workers against overconfidence. “We will talk big things like `the atmosphere is in our favour’ but this `wave of overconfidence’ will harm us,’’ he said adding “not individuals but the future of the state was at stake.’’ He said every section of the society was feeling harassed, especially farmers, women and youth.
“You call yourself a kisan putra but you have insulted farmers,’’ he said taking a dig at the chief minister. Pointing out to farmers’ suicides, he questioned the MP government’s agriculture growth story and the awards it has won. He accused the governments in MP and the Centre of tweaking figures.
While referring the dumper scam but without mentioning the CM’s name, Nath said “I am not associated with dumper, sand, satta or liquor but I am associated with people. I can say with confidence that there is no court case against me,’’ the veteran said.
He admitted that there was a time a few years ago when the common perception was the Congress had lost the state for ever. He recalled that similar perception prevailed between 1977 and 1980 but the Congress staged a comeback under Indira Gandhi. He also touched upon his equations with Sanjay Gandhi.
In a press conference delayed by more than two hours, Nath said he was not in the chief minister’s race. “I am not hungry for any post,’’ he said in response to a question.
“Upar bhole nath neeche kamal nath’’ read one of the prominent banners hanging atop the PCC office. Previous speakers recalled how Nath was once described as the third son of Indira Gandhi and insisted he played a crucial role in the 1980 victory of the Congress party.
Campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia took the praise a little further claiming that `not just in India but every person in the world knows about him.’ Nath, Scindia and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh alleged that false cases were slapped against Congress workers and promised to withdraw them once the party was voted to office.
Referring to the BJP’s allegation that the Congress party is a divided house, the former chief minister said Nath was capable of taking everybody along. “Rahul Gandhi has entrusted you with this responsibility. Now it’s up to you to allot work, which all will abide by,’’ he said adding that he was confident that Nath will live up to expectations.
Outgoing president Arun Yadav, who was suddenly replaced after holding the post for more than four years, used an allegory to convey his disappointment and sense of optimism. “The field was prepared over last few years. The crop is ready for harvest. The senior leadership is here to harvest it,’’ he said. Senior leaders who spoke after Yadav praised him for keeping the party alive. The day he was replaced, Yadav had announced that he won’t contest either Lok Sabha or assembly elections.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.