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Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

MP Assembly Election 2018: The Kamal Nath factor

Arti Ghargi

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kamal nath

The return of Kamal Nath to state politics who had remained at the Centre was considered to overturn Congress’ prospect in Madhya Pradesh.

 

“I don’t want you to vote for Congress leader Kamal Nath, I want you to vote my third son Kamal Nath,” said Indira Gandhi in a rally while campaigning in Chhindwara. Nath who traces back his family roots to UP’s Kanpur was contesting for the Lok Sabha seat from MP’s Chhindwara constituency-a constituency dominated by the tribal population. On April 26, Congress President Rahul Gandhi rejigged the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Congress Committee and handed over the reins to Kamal Nath-a 71 years old party MP and Gandhi family loyalist. In a poll-bound Madhya Pradesh where Congress has been out of power for the last 15 years, the task in front of Kamal Nath is to deliver the results when the state unit is infested with factionalism.

Kamal Nath

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Nath’s return to state politics who had for most of his political career remained at the Centre was considered to overturn Congress’ prospect in Madhya Pradesh. He has been a member of parliament for record 9 times from Chhindwara and had also held positions like Union MoS Environment and Forests, Union MoS Textiles and Minister for Commerce and industry. However, it also came as a surprise since Rahul Gandhi as a president was expected to give chance to more young force. For that matter, Jyotiraditya Scindia’s name, the royal scion of Gwalior, was considered a front-runner for the Chief Ministerial candidature. Yet, ‘importing’ Kamal Nath from Centre was a move carefully devised to keep the party flock together in the state. There are various reasons why the Kamal Nath factor was added to the Madhya Pradesh Congress chapter.

Kamal Nath- the Gandhi family loyalist:

Kamal Nath studied from a Doon school in Dehradun. He and Sanjay Gandhi were school buddies. Kamal Nath hailed from an affluent family while Sanjay Gandhi, from a family that wielded the political power in the country. Nath’s batchmate remembers him as an unconventional person who always had Sanjay Gandhi’s back. The stories of the friendship between the two still are among the hot topics discussed in Delhi corridors. Not only did he dream of Maruti car – the affordable car for the Indian middle class along with Sanjay Gandhi but also went to Tihar jail when Gandhi was put behind the bars during Janata Government days. From Dehradun to Delhi, he was a shadow of Gandhi, a part of what was then infamously called “Sanjay Ke Chhokre” (Hoodlums of Sanjay Gandhi). He was so inseparable from Sanjay Gandhi that a campaign slogan was created- “Indira Gandhi ke Do Haath, Sanjay Gandhi aur Kamal Nath.”

Kamal Nath

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Even after the death of Sanjay Gandhi, Nath remained close confidante of the Gandhi family. He was even named in 1984 Anti-Sikh riots. He was also Rajiv’s trusted lieutenant. His acceptability and good relations across parties made him a man Friday of Sonia Gandhi when it came to managing allies and the opposition during the UPA-2 government. Though the talks with BSP’s Mayawati have soured now, it must be recalled how Kamal Nath managed to get her to support the Congress’ Rajya Sabha candidate from MP Vivek Tankha when party fell short of two votes.

The man with a deep pocket:

It is no longer a secret that Congress party is facing the worst fund crunch currently. In the election year, this can put the party on a back seat especially compared to the rival BJP who got richer multi-folds since 2014. Some in the Congress also believe that Kamal Nath got the post because of the financial resources that he has. Kamal Nath owns as many as 23 businesses which are managed by his sons- ranging from the fields of real estate to aviation and from plantations to hospitality.

Kamal Nath

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Kamal Nath serves as president of the board of governors for The Institute of Management Technology (IMT). He is also the Chairman of “Madhya Pradesh Child Development Council” and Patron to the Bharat Yuvak Samaj (Youth Wing of All India Bharat Seva Samaj). As Livemint points out, some companies in which the Nath family has direct stakes include Span Plantations Pvt. Ltd, Alzo Investments Pvt. Ltd, Nakul Securities Pvt. Ltd, Bakul Holdings Pvt. Ltd, EMC Projects Pvt. Ltd and International Management Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Some subsidiaries include Span Air Pvt. Ltd, Centenary Trading Pvt. Ltd and Shaka Properties Pvt. Ltd. However, his business ownership has always been a low-key affair.

The hero of Chhindwara:

In the state, the Congress is banking on Kamal Nath’s Chhindwara model of development. In his constituency, Kamal Nath is worshipped for transforming the face of the town. The tremendous development work done by him in Chhindwara- which even rivals cannot dare doubt, is the main plank of Congress this assembly election. Despite not being the son of the soil, Kamal Nath is so popular that at the peak of Modi wave, he managed to win by a huge margin in 2014.  The people from his constituency vouch for the development-broad roads, big industries, IT parks, Tech parks, schools & colleges & big hospitals. He brought industries such as Western Coalfields Limited & Hindustan Unilever in Chhindwara.

Kamal Nath

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He also brought many institutes such as Raymond Cloth making training institute, Ashok Leyland Drivers Training Institute, NIIT knowledge center, Apparel Training & Design Centre & Footwear Design and Development Institute. His image as a one who is above petty politics has earned him respect in opposition camp as well.

The mastermind administrator:

Having been the longest serving member of parliament from his constituency, Nath has earned the reputation of a skilled administrator and an efficient floor manager who knows how to move the cadre and the financial resources. He is also popular as a master strategist who can effectively lead the party in a high decibel election fervor. Not only he has a good reputation among the elites but also has a strong grass root connect- a balance only a few can pull.  While many leaders draw clout from the caste they hail from, Kamal Nath has earned his base purely on the basis of his work-which also seems to work in his favor. He is entrusted with bringing the factions together. His strategy to unsettle BJP’s Hindutva pitch as soon as he took over the charge suggests the shrewd political acumen that he employs.

Kamal Nath

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Fear of another faction?

When Kamal Nath was brought in, the state unit was enthusiastic that the party will be able to put a stop on the factionalism. However, as it turned out, the party is fearing another faction supporting Kamal Nath for CM post emerging. Though former CM Digvijay Singh has been backtracked by the party for his loudmouth image, he has returned to the active politics with his ‘Narmada Ekta yatra’ after a 10- years sabbatical. He still has some support base in the party. On the other hand, the supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath are often seen sparring over social media. Even in the recent rally of Rahul Gandhi, posters demanding Scindia to be made CM appeared. Many also believe that Digvijay Singh, Congress’s coordination committee chief – who strongly supported Nath’s appointment, is running the show. This has again led to cracks in state Congress unit when the state is just a month away from polling.

Kamal Nath

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The Kamal Nath factor comes with its own advantages and fallouts. Whether the strategist and pro-development image of Kamal Nath outweigh the factionalism, will be tested in the upcoming days.

Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

Kamal Nath alleges some govt employees harbour ‘secret’ affection for BJP

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Kamal Nath said in Hindi: “Kamal Nath ki chakki chalti hai der se par bahut bareek peesti hai (Kamal Nath’s wrath is slow but very furious).” 

 

Piplani (Budhani)| Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath on Monday alleged that some government employees in the state harboured a “secret affection” for the BJP and warned them to be ready to face his “wrath” when his party comes to power.

Addressing his first rally in Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan‘s assembly constituency, Nath said in Hindi: “Kamal Nath ki chakki chalti hai der sey par bahut bareek peesti hai (Kamal Nath’s wrath is slow but very furious).”

The Congress leader, who is seen as one of the front-runners to be his party’s chief ministerial candidate, alleged that some government officials were biased in favour of the BJP that was ruling the state for 15 years.

Such government servants do not sport the badge of the saffron party but “secretly keep it in their pockets,” Nath said.

He also cautioned police officials in the same breath, saying they should “respect the uniforms they wore.”

“Remember you have taken an oath. All officials should remember that there will 12th (December 12) after the 11th (December 11).”

“Yaad rakhna, 11 ke baad 12 bhee aata hai,” he said in Hindi, referring to the December 11 vote-counting day when results for 230 assembly seats would be known. Elections would be held on November 28 for the state assembly, where the BJP has ruled for the last 15 years.

The Congress stalwart, a nine-term Member of Parliament from Chhindwara, was holding a public rally in support of the Congress candidate from Budhni, Arun Yadav, who is also the party’s former state president.

Nath urged voters to give a “chance” to him and Yadav instead of chief minister Chouhan this time.

“I will consider Budhni a part of Chhindwara and will usher development here with the help of Arun Yadav. We will create history in Budhni,” he said at his last rally of the day.

The former union minister also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chouhan, saying how will they clean Narmada and Ganga rivers that they have promised to do when they did not have “clean intentions”.

“They instead cleaned the banks,” Nath said referring to alleged multi-core bank scams that have come out in public in recent times including by defaulter businessmen like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya.

He urged local voters to dislodge Chouhan from the seat, saying it will usher the way to progress for them and also across the state.

Nath alleged that Madhya Pradesh has become “number-one in unemployment, corruption, rape and sand mining” under Chouhan’s rule.

“For 15 years, you have suffered a government of loot and lies. It’s time to change this,” he said.

Nath talked about the development work he did in his parliamentary constituency of Chhindwara and asked Chouhan how many people had got scholarships or health care facilities in Budhani.

Before taking a helicopter to the state capital Bhopal, about 140 km from here, the Congress leader alleged that Prime Minister Modi’s flagship schemes like Start-Up India, Make in India and Digital India have all failed in this area.

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Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

Madhya Pradesh polls: BJP manifesto like Congress’, has cow, Narmada reference

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Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal | The ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh Saturday released its manifesto promising measures for the well-being of cows and protection of the Narmada River, similar to what has been mentioned in the Congress’ “vachan patra”.

The BJP manifesto promised that well-equipped cowsheds would be increased and they would be set up in each division of the state. Madhya Polls goes to polls on November 28 and counting of votes will take place on December 11. It also said that a drive would be initiated to protect the holiness and flow of the Narmada river, revered by Hindus. As part of the drive, saplings would be planted along the river to protect its banks, it said.

The ruling party’s manifesto also spoke of setting up a managing authority to mitigate the problems faced by temple priests as well as a hike in honorarium for them. Besides, the manifesto also has other sops for temples in the state. “The BJP has come up with these measures after getting 12,000 suggestions. The party had constituted 24 teams to reach out to them,” said senior BJP leader Vikram Verma.

Earlier, the MP government had accorded five religious leaders the rank of minister of state after one of them, Namdev Das Tyagi, popularly known as Computer Baba, threatened a march to expose illegal mining along the Narmada.

However, a month ago, he parted ways with the state government, accusing it of having no respect for the Narmada and failing to check rampant illegal mining along the river. On November 10, the Congress had released its manifesto with references to Lord Ram, Narmada river and cow urine. It promised a “spiritual department” in the state, as well as plans to promote Sanskrit. It spoke of developing ‘Ram path’-a mythical route taken by Lord Ram during his 14-year exile- in MP’s Chitrakoot and the commercial production of ‘gaumutra’ (cow urine) and ‘kanda’ (cowdung cakes).

The manifesto also talked of setting up ‘gaushalas’ (cowshed) in every village panchayat and making arrangements for the upkeep of injured cows.

It had a host of measures for the conservation of the Narmada, including developing religious places along the river at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore as well as enacting the ‘Maa Narmada Nyas Adhiniyam’ for its conservation.

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Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

Youth suicidal rate in Madhya Pradesh has increased to 2000 percent, alleges Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi

Bhopal | Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the suicide rate among youth has increased to 2000 percent in the tenure of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Addressing a rally in poll bound Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni, Rahul Gandhi attacked the Shivraj Singh Chouhan led BJP for the unemployment in the state. He said, About 4000 post teachers post are empty in Madhya Pradesh, for every 18,000 students there is 1 teacher. The suicide rate among student have increased to 2000 percent in Madhya Pradesh.” He further added that the main demand of Madhya Pradesh’s youth is employment. For the last 15 years, BJP govt has not provided any employment to the youth.

Raising the issue of Adivasis, Rahul Gandhi said,” The most important things for  Adivasi’s is ‘Jal Jamin and Jungle’ (Water, Land and Jungle). The Congress president asked,Who should be benefits of these resources, the Millionaires or the Adivasi and poor. The Congress president also questioned, “If PM Modi can waive off loans worth ₹3,50,000Cr of India’s richest then why can he not waive off loans of farmers? “Congress will waive off farm loans within 10 days of forming the government in Madhya Pradesh,” he promised.

Cornering the Union government on the increasing fuel price, Gandhi said,”Global fuel prices are decreasing but in India fuel prices have doubled. All the burden is borne by the common people to benefit a handful of rich industrialists.” He further claimed,”During UPA era the price of Gas Cylinders war 400 rupees while in the current NDA  government it has increased to 1100 rupees.”

Assembly elections will be conducted in Madhya Pradesh on 28 November while the results will be declared on December 11 along with Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.

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