Former chief minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath on Saturday dared Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to race with him, in response to Chouhan’s reported remarks on Nath’s poor health and growing age.
Speaking at the Congress headquarters in Bhopal at a programme on occasion of the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Nath said that there are lots of discussions about his health and Chief Minister Chouhan had also commented about it. “I challenge you Shivraj ji, come and race with me any time,” he said.
He added that he suffered from complications of long-term COVID-19 in the form of pneumonia, but that could happen to anyone. But he recently had a health check-up and everything was fine with him. He also said that he had a number of responsibilities that kept him in Delhi, but that does not mean he was resting because of ill health.
BJP leaders have often commented about the prolonged absence of Kamal Nath from Madhya Pradesh, about his growing age and his failing health especially when bypolls were looming. Nath’s comments came in that context, too.
However, retorting, state president of BJP Vishnu Dutt Sharma said that Kamal Nath should rather worry about the race within Congress of leaders like Kapil Sibbal, Manish Tewari and Natwar Singh with the Gandhi family and only then he should worry about the race in Madhya Pradesh. Sharma added that the BJP was in the (polls) arena on the basis of its good thoughts, welfare works for the poor and on the strength of its organization. “Kamal Nath ji you are nowhere in the race of Madhya Pradesh,” he said.
'Bypolls a contest to save state, culture of country'
Meanwhile, Nath and Congress leaders paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi and Shastri at their busts on the premises of the Minto Hall (old Vidhan Sabha). Later, at the homage programme at party headquarters, he said that the upcoming bypolls were not mere political contests but means to save the state and the culture of the country. The bypolls were about keeping the future of the country safe, future of youth and honour of women safe. He said that the culture of Congress was to connect hearts and conserve relations.
The ex-CM also said that the ideologies and views of Mahatma Gandhi and the path shown by him to the nation are eternal. “We should take an oath to follow his ideologies and his ideals because the people in power today are attacking the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and Shastriji. Gandhiji might have never imagined that the culture of the country would be attacked in such a manner.”
He said that the Congress wants to field winning candidates and for that surveys and discussions with all concerned have been held. Candidates would be announced soon. He reiterated that every section of society was feeling harassed in the BJP rule under Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the chief minister was busy making false announcements and fake promises as usual. “However we are confident that the people will side with the truth in the bypolls,” Nath said.