Kamal Nath meets Sonia Gandhi, aims at Rajya Sabha seat

The meeting also comes amid days of speculations that Mr. Nath might end his decades-old association with the Congress and join the Bharatiya Janata Party

February 10, 2024 08:50 pm | Updated 08:51 pm IST - Bhopal

Former chief Minister Kamal Nath. File.

Former chief Minister Kamal Nath. File. | Photo Credit: A.M. FARUQUI

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress veteran Kamal Nath met Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Friday ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections on February 27 in which five seats from the State will be up for grabs. 

Out of the five seats going to polls from the State, the Congress, which has 66 MLAs in the State Assembly, has sufficient numbers for one seat. Even though there was no official word on the meeting, Congress insiders in Delhi and Bhopal told The Hindu that Mr. Nath is eyeing a place in the Upper House of the Parliament and held discussions with Ms. Gandhi regarding the same. 

A State Congress functionary said that Mr. Nath does not wants to remain “just an MLA” after he was removed as the State unit president.

“His son [Chhindwara Lok Sabha MP Nakul Nath] has already announced that he will contest again from the seat. And Kamal Nath ji wants to get a Rajya Sabha seat too and assert that he is still relevant in the State politics,” the leader said, adding that off late Mr. Nath has felt “sidelined” in the State unit.  

Meanwhile, two Congress MLAs also confirmed that Mr. Nath has also invited all Congress legislators in the State for a dinner at his Bhopal resident on February 13.

“The dinner will obviously be a show of strength and since he had an upper hand in the ticket distribution during Assembly polls, many MLAs are still with him. The number of MLAs that show up will clear many things,” one MLA said, requisition anonymity. 

The meeting also comes amid days of speculations that Mr. Nath might end his decades-old association with the Congress and join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

However, on Saturday morning, Mr. Nath, shared a post on X (formerly Twitter), praising the Congress’ ideology.

“The ideology of Congress is the ideology of truth, religion, and justice. There is equal place and respect in the ideology of Congress for all religions, castes, regions, languages, ​​and ideas of the country. In the 138 year history of the Congress Party, most of the time has been spent in struggle and service. In the freedom struggle movement, there was a competition among the Congress leaders to serve the country in the struggle against dictatorship. Nation building is the only aim of Congress after independence,” he said. 

Mr. Nath further wrote, “Today, when efforts are being made to weaken the opposition in the country and democracy is being attacked, only the Congress Party and its ideology will counter the dictatorship and make the country the most beautiful and strong democracy in the world. We will create a golden India by following the path of Gandhiji, Nehruji and Ambedkarji.

Earlier this week, in a jolt to the Congress, many leaders from Mr. Nath’s stronghold Mahakoshal region, including Jabalpur Mayor Jagat Bahadur Singh ‘Annu’ joined the BJP. Mr. Singh is considered close to Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha, who himself is believed to be a close aide of Mr. Nath. 

The elections to as many as 56 seats, including five from M.P., will be held on February 27.

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