Bhopal: Ahead of the crucial by-elections in Madhya Pradesh, former chief minister Kamal Nath took the fight to the bastion of BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia in Gwalior.
As many as 16 of the 28 assembly seats where by-elections will be held fall in the Gwalior-Chambal belt, a region where Scindia held clout while being in the Congress, finalising everything — from who will get tickets to appointment of the office-bearers.
“I won’t call them by-elections, these are elections that will decide the future of the state,’’ said Nath, who is also the Madhya Pradesh Congress chief, while talking to reporters Saturday.
The senior Congress leader took out a massive roadshow in Gwalior Friday as part of his two-day visit to the region.
In a no-holds-barred attack on Scindia, the erstwhile royal scion, Nath Friday said: “When it came to power and organisation, he used to represent the region from the state to the Centre. He should answer why the region is backward.”
“I did not focus much on politics and development of the region before because Scindia was calling the shots. But now the development of the region will be my priority. The situation is different now,” he added, recalling how MP used to be known by Gwalior, and not Indore, Bhopal or Jabalpur. “From roads to flyovers, Gwalior has remained neglected,” he said Saturday while addressing party workers.
The dates of the by-polls to 28 seats are yet to be announced.
Attack on Shivraj
On Saturday, while addressing Congress workers, Kamal Nath launched a broadside against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Countering Chouhan’s and the BJP’s charge that the Congress government’s loan waiver schemes for farmers was an eyewash, Nath said: “Shivraj ji aap itne nalayak to nahi hai (Shivraj ji you are not that incompetent) that you could not figure out that not every farmer is eligible for the loan waiver scheme.”
This is not the first time that Nath has used the ‘nalayak’ jibe for Chouhan. When asked about his friendship with Chouhan in May 2018, Nath had said: “You have layak (competent) friends and you have nalayak friends.”
About the loan waiver scheme, which was announced by the Congress government in 2018, the former CM said that only crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh, and not tractor or other loans, were to be waived off.
He further said he was ready to share names and other details of each of the 26 lakh farmers, who benefited from the scheme. The former CM also said Chouhan has a penchant for making announcements, but not fulfilling them.
“How dare you ask me the account of my 15-month government when you did nothing but made promises in your 15-year rule,” said Nath.
Congress a divided house, says BJP
The BJP, meanwhile, said the roadshow was another reminder that the Congress was a divided house because supporters of former CM and senior leader Digvijaya Singh were “missing”.
BJP leader Lokendra Parashar tweeted Friday: “In Kamal Nath’s roadshow, former ministers Govind Singh, Jaivardhan Singh and Ramnivas Rawat were not seen. That is, Digvijay Singh’s camp is missing.”
— लोकेन्द्र पाराशर Lokendra parashar (@LokendraParasar) September 18, 2020
On the loan waiver scheme, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra Friday attacked Nath, saying the Congress’ silence on the election promise made to farmers is proof of its white lies.
“If the loan of every farmer up to 2 lakh is not waived off in 10 days, then the chief minister will be changed. Silence on this election promise made to farmers by @INCMP is a proof of white lies. Why isn’t Kamal Nath, who gives explanations via pendrive, bringing 15 farmers to give evidence on this issue?”
हर किसान का 2 लाख तक कर्जा 10 दिन में माफ नहीं हुआ तो मुख्यमंत्री बदल दिया जाएगा। किसानों से किए इस चुनावी वादे पर चुप्पी @INCMP के सफेद झूठ का प्रमाण है। इस मुद्दे पर पेन ड्राइव के जरिए सफाई देने वाले @OfficeOfKNath 15 किसानों को सामने लाकर सबूत क्यों नहीं देते?#LiesOfKamalnath
— Dr Narottam Mishra (@drnarottammisra) September 18, 2020
While talking to reporters Friday, Mishra also questioned why Nath didn’t visit Gwalior even once during his 15-month stint as the chief minister.