Bhopal: Kamal Nath reaches Congress office in Bhopal. The Congress party has chosen Kamal Nath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. There will not be a Deputy Chief Minister in MP. Nine time-MP from Chhindwara who runs the Congress’s Madhya Pradesh unit, was made chief minister-designate on December 13.
Nath, 72, was one of two contenders for the top job — the other being Jyotiraditya Scindia, also a Lok Sabha MP. The decision came after hours of deliberation over the issue by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and the Congress high command.
Born in Kanpur, Kamal Nath will be the first Congressman to govern Madhya Pradesh since Digvijaya Singh, who was succeeded by Uma Bharti in 2003. The BJP then ruled for 15 years. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the outgoing chief minister, ran the state government for 13 of those years.
With wins in 114 seats, the Congress party has not done enough to secure a clear majority, but has scraped past the halfway mark with the help of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party — both influential parties in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress is poised to form governments in two other Hindi belt states — Chhattisgarh, where it has a majority, and Rajasthan, where it fell short of the halfway mark by a single seat.
India’s main opposition party has timed its resurgence perfectly. A general election due by May will test whether its performace in state polls can be replicated in a national vote, where different factors arguably come into play.
In 2014, the BJP won 27 of Madhya Pradesh’s 29 Lok Sabha seats. Jyotiraditya Scindia won one of the two remaining seats. Kamal Nath won the other.