New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) In a bid to break BJP’s hold in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, the Congress on Thursday appointed old warhorse and former Union minister Kamal Nath as President of its state unit and in a balancing act named young MP Jyotiraditya Scindia as Chairman of the Campaign Committee.
Seventy-one-year-old Kamal Nath, a nine-time MP from Chhindwara and former Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, replaces Arun Yadav as the state Congress chief.
His appointment has triggered speculation whether the party has chosen to stick with experience over youth as represented by 47-year-old Scindia, who has been representing Guna in the Lok Sabha since 2002 and left open the race for Chief Ministership by making Scindia the campaign committee chief.
Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, which the BJP has ruled for 15 years continuously, will be held later this year.
“I will do my best to ensure the defeat of BJP and non-secular forces with committment and courage by working together,” said Nath, who made his entry into politics in the 1980s as part of the “Sanjay Brigade”, shortly after his appointment was made public.
“I thank Sonia Gandhiji (Sonia Gandhi) and Rahul Gandhiji (Congress President Rahul Gandhi) for reposing their faith in me,” he added.
Besides Kamal Nath, the party also appointed four state Working Presidents – Bala Bachhan, Ramnivas Rawat, Jitu Patwari and Surender Choudhary.
Senior Congress leader and former Madhya pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh said Nath was an ideal choice for the PCC chief’s post.
“He is a seasoned leader, an outstanding person and an astute politician. He can take people from all factions together. He also supported me when I was the chief minister of the state. I can’t forget his support,” said Singh.
He also said if the party comes to power in Madhya Pradesh, the chief minister will be decided by the party leadership.
Asked if he himself was not the ideal candidate for the PCC president’s post, Singh said: “I was never in the race. I voluntarily opted out of the race. I was also the chief minister of the state for 10 years and PCC chief for seven years.”
On being asked about his role, Singh said: “My task is simple. I will go to all parts of the state and bring all factions together (in support of Congress).”
The appointments were made by Congress President Rahul Gandhi. “The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of Arun Yadav, who will be stepping down from his responsibilty as PCC president of Madhya Pradesh,” said a party statement released by its General Secretary Ashok Gehlot.