Amid speculation of ‘switch’, can Kamal Nath save family bastion Chhindwara for son Nakul?

Bhopal, Feb 17 (IANS) There are talks in the political circles about veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath and his son Nakul Natch’s probable shift to the BJP, which is being linked to the party’s recent Assembly election debacle in Madhya Pradesh and the subsequent handing over of the state unit’s charge to Jitu Patwari.

Also, Nakul Nath removing ‘INC’ (Indian National Congress) from his social media bio on Saturday has only added fuel to the fire.

The dismal election results also reportedly paved the way for a ‘rift’ between former Chief Minister Kamal Nath and senior party leader Rahul Gandhi.

Though sidelined, Patwari’s predecessor Kamal Nath apparently kept pushing to resolve the issue with the help of Sonia Gandhi. But Rahul Gandhi reportedly maintained the distance and even stopped communicating with Kamal Nath.

While all these speculation can be cited as the key trigger if Nakul Nath or his father, or both, joins the BJP, all eyes are on how the veteran leader saves his family bastion Chhindwara and the political future of his son.

Nakul Nath (49) made his political debut from Chhindwara when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from there in 2019. In fact, he was the only Congress candidate to taste success in in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Madhya Pradesh, as the BJP rode on a massive (Narendra) Modi wave to sweep the remaining 28 seats in the state, one more than its 2014 tally.

Now, looking at Congress’ poor performance in the Assembly elections held in November last year, there are talks in certain circles that Kamal Nath’s son might lose the family bastion in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

While Kamal Nath managed to retain Chhindwara from 1998 to 2014 before his son won from there in 2019, the BJP this time seems prepared to wrest the family bastion from the veteran Congress leader.

Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is a minister in Chief Minister Mohan Yadav’s Cabinet, had recently said that the party may filed ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Chhindwara.

In fielded, Chouhan — who served four terms as the Chief Minister and is considered to be one of the most popular politicians in the state — would definitely pose a huge challenge for Nakul Nath.

Interestingly, even though Nakul Nath won from Chhindwara in 2019, Congress’ vote percentage had gone down, with the winner securing 47.06 per cent votes against 44.5 per cent managed by BJP nominee Nathan Shah. In comparison, the vote share of Kamal Nath in both 2009 and 2014 was above 50 per cent.

A senior Congress leader said on condition of anonymity that Kamal Nath might have sensed that the chances of his son winning from Chhindwara is less this time, and that is why he advised Nakul Nath to decide his own political future.

Nakul Nath, on his part, has already declared himself a candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, although the Congress is yet to release its list.

The speculation about the father-son duo’s possible defection to the BJP has been doing the rounds for the past few days. And by removing ‘INC’ from his social media bio and the sudden visit to Delhi on Saturday, Nakul Nath has only added fuel to the fire.



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