For the last month or so, it was widely speculated that Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath could be elevated as the next AICC president after his recent meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at New Delhi. But the veteran leader clarified at a PCC Bhopal media briefing that he was ready to accept any responsibility within the party but “wasn’t going anywhere from Madhya Pradesh”.
Senior leaders such as Sajjan Singh Verma even had staked claim for PCC chief’s post even as the reports of Nath switching over to New Delhi were making rounds.
Nath was pulled into state affairs in May 2018 when Jyotiraditya Scindia was leading the Congress campaign for assembly polls and then party president Arun Yadav was ousted and Nath was made the state head.
After losing power to the BJP in March last year, Nath has been regularly engaging in MP politics. Despite criticism, he kept both the posts of Leader of Opposition and as PCC chief.
During the press briefing on Wednesday, Nath also took pot shots at PM Narendra Modi and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Pegasus spyware controversy and called it as the “biggest attack on privacy” of people.
On state Congress business, Nath said surveys were conducted for three upcoming assembly polls and Khandwa Lok Sabha seat and candidates will be finalised later. In fact, he also quipped that former PCC chief Arun Yadav was busy preparing for Khandwa bypoll but was yet to speak to him about expressing his “eagerness" to contest.
As part of the drive to strengthen the party’s district organisation, Nath shunted out three district heads immediately after the presser. The Bhind head, Jaishri Ram Baghel, had raised slogans against former minister Govind Singh at the PCC meet and Panna district chief Divya Rani Singh, who had a decade-old tenure and was a loyalist of former LoP Ajay Singh, were immediately removed. Kamal Silakari, who was recently appointed as the Vidisha head, was replaced with Nishank Jain.
Party insiders say Nath would do more such organisational overhauls at the district level, especially where the party base had been shaky.
A senior political analyst from Bhopal said Nath not only wants to keep his hold firm on MP unit but also wishes to increase his clout in the party nationally.