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‘Infighting’ in MP Cong Sign of Aspirations, Happens Before Polls: Kamal Nath Dismisses Threat to Govt

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, Kamal Nath, appeared untroubled despite the apparent crisis, saying this was not unexpected.

Marya Shakil | CNN-News18maryashakil

Updated:October 3, 2019, 8:43 PM IST
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‘Infighting’ in MP Cong Sign of Aspirations, Happens Before Polls: Kamal Nath Dismisses Threat to Govt
File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath.

New Delhi: He is the chief minister of one of the few states where the Congress is in power while the Bharatiya Janata Party electoral juggernaut crushes rivals across the country. But the astute Kamal Nath is also facing a faction fight in his party’s Madhya Pradesh unit that has been threatening to implode.

In an interview with CNN-News18, the senior Congress leader, however, appeared untroubled despite the apparent crisis, saying this was not unexpected. “It happens before every election in all parties,” he argued, adding it was only a sign of aspirations. The chief minister also expressed confidence that his government would complete five years “and more”.

The latest round of infighting has come to the fore with supporters of both Nath and former MP Jyotiraditya Scindia pushing for their respective leaders to have a say in the selection of the new chief of the party’s state unit. Against the backdrop of this situation, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi summoned both leaders to Delhi.

However, Kamal Nath said, “I never came to meet Sonia Gandhi for this issue.”

Scindia recently expressed his unhappiness over the state government’s survey of crops destroyed by rain and floods. He demanded a reassessment of the damage and asked the administration for “adequate compensation” for the distressed farmers.

However, Nath in the interview maintained Scindia's comments on the survey were not new.

Observers say another prominent Congress leader from Madhya Pradesh, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, has been opposing Scindia getting his way in the state unit.

Speaking about him, Kamal Nath said that he consults Singh who has an advisory role. “He has been chief minister for 10 years, so I take his advice… I am the CM, there is no confusion,” he added.

The Indian economy is also facing a downturn and Madhya Pradesh is not unaffected. “The economy was in bloom. Now it’s in gloom and heading for doom,” said Kamal Nath, in apparent criticism of the BJP government at the Centre. He also said that the sales of two-wheelers plummeting is the biggest indication of the slowdown in the economy.

On the Madhya Pradesh ‘honeytrap scam’ that has been making headlines, the chief minister said it cannot be compared to the Vyapam scam that broke out when his predecessor, the BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, was in power.

The CM has changed the head of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the matter twice, leading to allegations of political pressure. Dozens of high-profile people including politicians and bureaucrats were allegedly ensnared by a widespread extortion racket. Over 1,000 clips of sex chats, explicit videos and audios have been found from mobile phones and computers of the gang members arrested. About a dozen IAS officers, eight former ministers of Madhya Pradesh, several actresses and journalists are among those being investigated for possible involvement in the syndicate.

“Can’t compare this to Vyapam…this one is sleazy,” Kamal Nath said, while also rejecting charges of political pressure.

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