Congress picks old guard Kamal Nath as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
Veteran Congressman, Kamal Nath, was late on Thursday announced as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. He will take over the outgoing Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the new Parliamentary head of the state.
Nath, 72, was one of the two front-runners for the post alongside his younger rival Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The announcement was made after a prolonged deliberation over the right man for the job by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his Congress high command. It was also announced that there will not be a deputy CM in the state.
— Congress (@INCIndia) December 13, 2018
Born in Kanpur, Kamal Nath is a nine-time Congress MP from the Chhindwara constituency of Madhya Pradesh. He also served as the pro-term Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha and was appointed as the Union Cabinet Minister of Commerce and Industry from 2004 to 2009 during Manmohan Singh’s first term as the Prime Minister.
One of the longest serving and most senior members of the Lok Sabha, Nath has also served as the Minister of Urban Development.
Earlier, this year he was elected as the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee and led the party to a victorious 2018 state assembly elections campaign.
Nath is the first Congressman since Digvijaya Singh to become the chief minister of the Northern state. Digvijaya was succeeded by Uma Bharati in 2003. A period that started a 15-year BJP rule in the state –13 of which were ruled by Shivraj Singh Chouhan – until Kamal Nath’s appointment.
But despite overthrowing BJP in the just-concluded assembly polls, Congress still failed two seats short of achieving the majority for forming a government in the state. Congress won 114 seats and was helped by Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, whose two and one elected legislators respectively, supported the party.
Madhya Pradesh is one of the three Hindi heartland – Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan being the other two – in the country where the BJP suffered major defeats to the Congress.