Lok Sabha elections 2019: Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath likely to take over dad’s mantle
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath’s elder son Nakul Nath (44) has started campaigning for the Congress in the family’s pocket borough of Chhindwara, even though the party is yet to announce its candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party leaders said. Kamal Nath has represented the constituency nine times in the Lok Sabha, making him the senior-most lower house member in the 15th Lok Sabha.
On Thursday, Nakul addressed six meetings in the villages of the Amarwara area, situated some 40 km from the district headquarters. But since the tickets to the 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state are yet to be declared, he is careful with his words. He told the villagers about the Congress government’s welfare schemes and said that since his father Kamal Nath was busy looking after the entire state’s development, he had been entrusted with the task of ensuring that people of Chhindwara did not face any difficulty.
Nakul’s mother, Alka Nath, 68, is also campaigning for him. At a women’s convention on Thursday, she expressed confidence that Nakul would do double the work that Kamal Nath had done for the region and said that she has ‘given’ her son to Chhindwara. “He is your son, he has been coming to Chhindwara since he was five years old,” she said.
“There is no opposition to Nakul Nath’s candidature and his was the only name sent from the district to the central observer, who came here,” said the local Congress leader and vice-president of media cell, Syed Jaffer.
A product of Doon School like his father, Nakul Nath has an MBA from Boston University in USA, a local Congress leader said. “He used to come to Chhindwara during his holidays and often accompanied his father to meeting in his teens. His first serious foray into politics was in 1996 when he had a major role to play during his mother Alka Nath’s victory from Chhindwara,” the same leader said.
Chhindwara, where polling will take place on
April 29, is considered to be a safe seat for the Congress. Kamal Nath lost only once - in a by-elections in 1997 - from Chhindwara since 1980. Even in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the Narendra Modi wave swept through the state and the BJP won 27 of the 29 seats, Chhindwara was one of the two seats that the Congress had won. The other seat was Guna, represented by Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The Congress leaders said that Nakul Nath has been assisting his father during the elections. However, his political ambition came into focus when he was seated right behind his father Kamal Nath when the latter took over as the Madhya Pradesh Congress chief in May last year. He was also present during his father’s swearing-in ceremony in November, 2018.
Since his father became the state’s chief minister, Nakul has been meeting local leaders and villagers during the course of the last few months and last week, when he visited Chhindwara along with Kamal Nath, the party faithfuls had shouted slogans asking for Nakul Nath to be made the party candidate from Chhindwara.
BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said Nakul Nath’s candidature is not unexpected. “In the Congress party, a son often succeeds his father and there were indications that Nakul Nath was interested in politics.”
Political commentator LS Hardeniya said, “Once Kamal Nath became chief minister, it is but natural that he will hand over his safe seat to his son. Most political heirs have similar soft entries into politics.”