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Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

MP Assembly Election 2018: The Kamal Nath factor

Arti Ghargi

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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

Mamata, Mayawati invited for Kamal Nath’s swearing-in on Dec 17

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Kamal Nath; BJP

Bhopal | The Congress has invited leaders from across the political spectrum for the swearing-in ceremony of party stalwart Kamal Nath taking charge as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on December 17.

Nath, a nine-time MP from Chhindwara seat and currently president of state Congress unit, will take oath at a grand function to be held at Jamboree Maidan in BHEL area here instead of Lal Parade Ground as announced earlier. He had told reporters Friday that the swearing-in ceremony would take place at Lal Parade Ground around 1.30 pm.

According to sources in Congress, the change of venue is apparently aimed at accommodating a huge crowd the party is expecting for the ceremony. Notably, Jambooree Maidan is the venue where Nath’s predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP had taken the oath with much fanfare in 2008 and 2013.

“I will take oath alone,” Nath told PTI, when asked who else will take oath along with him. This means that aspirants seeking ministerial berths will have to wait for some more time.

Nath will become the first chief minister of a Congress government in the central Indian state after a gap of 15 years.

Digvijaya Singh was the last chief minister of Congress in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP snatched power from the grand old party in 2003 and went on to retain it till its narrow defeat on December 11.

According to Congress sources, apart from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party president Rahul Gandhi, Nath has invited West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav for the event. Besides, chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states are being invited, they said.

Leading industrialists and religious saints will also be present on the occasion, sources said.

The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) have extended their support to Nath for forming the government after the Congress failed to cross the halfway mark (115) on its own.

The Congress won 114 seats in the 230-member Assembly. The party has secured the support of total 121 MLAs, including SP (1), BSP (2) and four Independent MLAs.

Apart from Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has come to power in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan by dislodging the respective BJP governments there in the latest polls.

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Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

Congress’s Kamal Nath to stake claim to form Madhya Pradesh government

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Kamal Nath; BJP

Bhopal | Congress leader Kamal Nath will meet Governor Anandiben Patel Friday in Raj Bhavan here to stake claim to form a government in Madhya Pradesh. The party won 114 seats in the 230-member House, the poll result of which was declared on December 11.

It has secured the support of a total of 121 MLAs, including SP – 1 and BSP – 2 legislators as also of four independents, to cross the majority mark of 116 seats.

The Congress Thursday night had named Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh’s next chief minister after hours of hectic parleys held by the party chief Rahul Gandhi with senior party leaders.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which ruled the state for 15 years, got 109 seats in the elections.

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Madhya Pradesh Election 2018

Kamal Nath to be the next Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister announces Congress

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Putting all the suspense surrounding the appointment of the new chief minister for the state of Madhya Pradesh, theCongress Party on Thursday  in a tweet announced veteran leader Kamal Nath as the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
https://twitter.com/incindia/status/1073272462987722752?s=21
The Congress party in the recently concluded assembly election ended the 15 year governance of BJP and energed as the single largest party with 114 seats. However its failed to surpass the majority mark in the 230 seats state assembly. With the support of BSP, SP and other independent the COngress staked claim to form the government in Madhya Pradesh. Kamal Nath who is a 9-time member of parliament from the Chindwara constituency of Madhya Pradesh was appointed as president of the Congress Madhya Pradesh unit before the election. Kamalnath was the minister of Parliamentary affairs in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.

The appointment of Kamalnath was a tough task for the Congress leadership as it had to choose between him and the young Jyotiradtiya Scindia for the post of Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh

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