Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal
Congress stalwart Kamal Nath took over as Pradesh Congress chief in a massive show of strength — a five-hour road rally that wound its way through the streets of Bhopal.
Top party leaders were present in the roadshow— including Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia — alongside Kamal Nath, leading the party’s roadshow.
With six months to go for the election, Congress president Rahul Gandhi handed the party’s reins to the 73-year-old four days ago.
Nath, the nine-time MP from Chhindwara, who is on his maiden visit to the state capital after being made the Madhya Pradesh Congress president, was given a rousing welcome on his arrival at the airport here. He was accompanied by Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijaya Singh and other Congress leaders, who travelled in a huge procession to reach the party office to take over the charge.
For his official coronation, Kamal Nath reached Bhopal around 10:30am. The Congress’ road show with the new chief started from Raja Bhoj Airport and reached state PCC office in the afternoon. Here, there was a welcome ceremony in front of the statue of Indira Gandhi where Kamal Nath gave his first speech as state party chief. Later he addressed the media and thereafter there was a meeting over tea at the official residence of Ajay Singh.
On Wednesday — after visiting temples in Bhopal, Ujjain and Datia — Kamal Nath will take his first meeting of the Congress legislative party in the evening in Bhopal.Congress’ newly elected chief Kamal Nathtoday arrived here to formally take charge of the party in the state where the Assembly elections are due later this year.
The nine-time MP from Chhindwara, who is on his maiden visit to the state capital after being made the MP Congress president, was given a rousing welcome on his arrival at the airport here.
The former Union Minister travelled in a huge procession to the party office Indira Bhawan, located about 15 kms from the airport.Braving the scorching heat of over 41 degree Celsius, the Congressmen welcomed Nath by beating drums and dancing on the roadsides, causing traffic snarls at some places.
The state Congress’ new election campaign committee chairman, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Senior Party Leader Digvijay Singh accompanied Nath in his vehicle.
Nath was last week appointed the MP Congress President to revive the party’
Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh BJP has rejected Congress claims to wrest power in the state under the leadership of newly appointed state president Kamal Nath saying, “Nath in no way a challenge to the saffron party”. BJP leaders said that Congress will always be a divided house and the show of unity is momentary.
“Kamal Nath is not a challenge for BJP but for the Congress leaders themselves. Nath believes in Dhan Shakti (money power) while the BJP believes in Jan Shakti (public strength),” said BJP state president Rakesh Singh.
The BJP, however, refused to buy the claim that Congress has united under the leadership of Kamal Nath. Party’s Lok Sabha member and tribal leader Faggan Singh Kulaste said, “One cannot believe that Congress is a united party.
Congress will always be a divided group where each group caters for its own interest. The so called show of strength will last for a few days as it is clear that after the announcement of Kamal Nath, leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Arun Yadav are feeling cheated by the party”.
BJP leaders also took a dig at the appointment of an old leader (Nath) against the young blood (Scindia). Dalit leader and minister Lal Singh Arya said that Congress cannot win elections with the help of a 72-year-old leader. Lok Sabha member from Damoh, Prahlad Patel also said that Nath is not a challenge for the party. He said the BJP will fulfill its target of 200 seats, he said.
“There is no challenge for BJP in the state. The party will again form government under the leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan in 2018 and the lotus will bloom. We are ground to earth people. We prepare our rotis on the griddle but, Congress is baking rotis (playing dirty politics) on dead bodies,” alleged former state BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan.
BJP ministers Narottam Mishra and Bhupendra Singh also ruled out Congress’ claim that Nath will successfully review the Congress’ fortune in Madhya Pradesh ahead of the assembly polls this year end.