Kamal Nath is not leaving party, says M.P. Congress chief

Congress leadership is in touch with Kamal Nath, says Digvijaya Singh

Updated - February 18, 2024 10:04 pm IST

Published - February 18, 2024 08:51 pm IST - Bhopal

Kamal Nath with Congress Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh. File.

Kamal Nath with Congress Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh. File. | Photo Credit: A.M. FARUQUI

Madhya Pradesh Congress president Jitu Patwari said on Sunday that former Chief Minister and party veteran Kamal Nath was not going to leave the party.

“I just spoke to Kamal Nath ji. He told me that the speculations going on in the media are part of a conspiracy. He said, ‘I was, am and will remain a Congress man’,” Mr. Patwari told news agency PTI.

“He [Mr. Nath] has also expressed his emotions to me that he has lived his life with the Congress ideology and will continue to do so till his last breath,” the State Congress chief said, accusing the BJP of using the media to spread “rumours”.

Meanwhile, a section of BJP leaders has also expressed its apprehensions about Mr. Nath’s entry into the saffron fold.

Madhya Pradesh Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said the doors of the BJP were closed for “leaders like Kamal Nath”.

BJP leader Tajinder Bagga said there was no place for Mr. Nath in the BJP and termed him a “murderer of Sikhs” due to his alleged involvement in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. Various BJP leaders in the past have also attacked Mr. Nath over the allegations, which, however, he has always denied.

Meanwhile, senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh said the Congress leadership was in touch with Mr. Kamal Nath.

“I have been continuously discussing things with Kamal Nath ji, the Congress leadership is also in touch with him,” said Mr. Singh, adding that Mr. Nath was also under pressure from the enforcement agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI, and the Income Tax Department.

Former State Minister and Kamal Nath loyalist Sajjan Singh Verma, who met Mr. Nath in Delhi, said the former Chief Minister had held a conversation with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and that he had “no plans of leaving the Congress”.

“They have held discussions [over the phone] on various issues,” he said. 

Speculations, going on for days, that Mr. Nath and his son and Chhindwara MP Nakul Nath could shift their loyalties and join the BJP were further fuelled after Mr. Nath landed in the national capital on Saturday. Reports claimed that Mr. Nath was scheduled to hold talks with senior BJP leaders. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Nath, who remained in the national capital, in a brief interaction with the reporters, said he had not held any talks with anyone. 

When a reporter said there were talks of him and Mr. Nakul joining the BJP, Mr. Nath said, “I have not talked to anyone.”

Various posts

Mr. Singh also said that the Congress had given Mr. Nath various posts from a Union Minister to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister to party State unit chief. 

“What post has he not gotten,” he said, adding that Mr. Nath has also been a pillar of the Congress.

“I don’t think that he will leave the party,” he said, adding, “Pressure of the ED, the CBI, and the IT. He has the same pressure as everyone does.”

“But Kamal Nath ji’s character has not been of bowing down to pressure,” Mr. Singh said.

Mr. Verma also said that Mr. Nath was focusing on Lok Sabha poll ticket distribution in Madhya Pradesh.

“Kamal Nath ji said that I have no such thought nor have I discussed about this with anyone,” said Mr. Verma, who had on Saturday hinted that Mr. Nath was “considering the move due to his honour and self-respect”. 

Another Kamal Nath loyalist and former Congress MLA Deepak Saxena, while alleging that he had been neglected in the party, said the people of Chhindwara “wanted Mr. Nath to join the BJP for the development of the district”.

“There is a group of 11 senior Congress members [of Chhindwara]. We all discussed and decided that if we are neglected like this then it would be better to go to BJP and get the work done,” said Mr. Saxena, claiming that many MLAs are likely to follow Mr. Nath if they are promised a ticket in the BJP.

Reports on Sunday also claimed that at least six MLAs, loyal to Mr. Nath, have also reached Delhi, and that various other leaders have gone incommunicado, forcing State Congress leaders to try and hold one-on-one conversations with one another. 

It is also learnt that Mr. Nath is upset with the party leadership over various issues, including him being snubbed for Rajya Sabha seat and being removed as the PCC chief. 

If the speculations are true, Mr. Nath’s exit could invite more troubles for the country’s principal opposition party, especially in terms of fund collections ahead of the Lok Sabha elections as he is known to be crucial for organising resources for the party due to his close ties with various corporates. 

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