Kamal Nath reaches Delhi amid buzz over BJP switch | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Kamal Nath reaches Delhi amid buzz over BJP switch

Feb 18, 2024 01:52 AM IST

Former MP CM Kamal Nath and his son's actions spark speculation of joining BJP. Talks with senior BJP leaders ongoing; no confirmation yet.

Bhopal: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath’s trip to New Delhi on Saturday afternoon, and his son, Member of Parliament (MP), Nakul Nath’s act of removing Congress from his social-media bio lead to intense speculation that the two might be joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next few days. The speculation was fanned by comments from both Congress and BJP leaders claiming that Nath was in talks with senior BJP leaders in the Capital, but there was no confirmation from either side.

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath arrived in Delhi on Saturday (PTI)
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath arrived in Delhi on Saturday (PTI)

On Saturday afternoon, after reaching Delhi, Nath, who appeared to be enjoying the media frenzy neither confirmed nor denied the rumours. “It is not about denying; you people are getting excited. If something like this happens, I will inform you all first.”

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A senior BJP leader in MP said it is possible that the father-son duo could join the BJP. “Talks with senior leaders including union home minister, Amit Shah, and national president, JP Nadda, are going on. If all goes well, he will join the BJP on Sunday in the presence of senior-most BJP leaders.”

If true, the trigger for Nath’s move is likely the Rajya Sabha election on February 27. Five seats in Madhya Pradesh are up for grabs, and the Congress is expected to winone. Nath, HT learns, was keen on a Rajya Sabha berth, but the party chose to go with Digvijaya Singh’s loyalist Ashok Singh. The Congress has 66 legislators in the 230-member state assembly, and Nath’s exit could queer the pitch for the election to the Upper House if some of the MLAs choose to move with him.

The BJP leader claimed that there were a few issues to be ironed out, necessitating Nath’s visit to Delhi.

Sajjan Singh Verma, a senior Congress leader and Nath’s close associate, said he last spoke to Nath on Friday, and suggested that all was not well between him and the Congress leadership. “He felt extremely hurt over some issue in Congress, which I cannot speak about. A person does politics for honour and self-respect. He has gone to Delhi to meet senior leaders,” he told reporters on Saturday, refusing to spell out more details about his conversation with Nath. “I have been associated with Nath for the past 40 years. He is my leader. Wherever he will go, I will go with him.”

But senior Congress leader, Digvijaya Singh, ruled out the possibility of Nath joining the BJP. “I spoke to him last night and he did not indicate anything . He started his political career with the Congress and had been with the Gandhi family all along, even during Janata Party’s rule. Ideologically, he is not with the BJP.”

There have been rumours of Nath speaking with the BJP ever since it became clear that the Congress held him primarily responsible for its resounding defeat in the state assembly elections late last year. The party was expected to win the elections. After the loss, Nath was removed as state party president and his nominee was not considered for leader of opposition position. Then came the Rajya Sabha election.

“He was trying to get a Rajya Sabha seat from MP but the party chose senior leader Ashok Singh, a close aide of Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh. A day before the Rajya Sabha nomination on February 13, Nath hosted a dinner for all Congress leaders. After the announcement of Ashok Singh’s name, Nath was unhappy,” said a Congress leader who asked not to be named.

Verma, who also removed Congress from his social media profile, confirmed that Nath was upset over being denied a Rajya Sabha nomination.

MP Congress president Jitu Patwari, who replaced Nath, dismissed the rumours as “baseless”.

“Can you even dream that Indira ji’s third son can leave Congress? Under whose leadership we contested the elections two months ago? For whom the Congress workers were sacrificing everything to make him the chief minister? Can he leave the Congress?”

Nath has been targeted by the BJP in the past over his alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh violence, and corruption scandals.

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    She is a senior reporter based at Bhopal. She covers higher education, social issues, youth affairs, woman and child development related issues, sports and business & industries.

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