BHOPAL, Sept 28: Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath on Wednesday said he is not keen on becoming the party president and does not want to contest the election for that post as he wishes to focus on his home state, where Assembly elections are scheduled next year.
He also said that the elections for the Congress president’s post are being held as Rahul Gandhi refused to take up the party’s reins.
“I talked to Rahul Gandhi and urged him to contest so that all this (ongoing uproar) could be ended. I told him things are getting complicated. But he said he does not want to become (the party president),” Nath told reporters here on Wednesday in reply to a question.
“Now, when he (Gandhi) doesn’t want to become (party chief), elections are being held…J P Nadda became the BJP president without any elections in that party. Let alone holding elections, the BJP didn’t seek the opinion of even 10 leaders of the party before Nadda was appointed to the post,” he added.
When asked why he himself does not want to contest the polls for the top post in the party, Nath said he had gone to Delhi and told Congress president Sonia Gandhi that he would not leave Madhya Pradesh as Assembly elections are only 12 months away.
“I will not take this responsibility because this will take away my focus from Madhya Pradesh. I don’t want to divert my focus from Madhya Pradesh,” the state Congress chief said.
The new AICC chief will have to first focus on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where elections are scheduled soon, and there will be a need to prepare a strategy for every state, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said.
The Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are due in November next year.
Asked whether Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot would file a nomination for the AICC chief’s post, Nath said, “I don’t know.”
About the possibility of Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor filing his nomination, Nath said, “I held talks with him. He wants to file his nomination because there is an election and it should not seem that elections don’t take place.”
Replying to a question about the possibility of Congress’s Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh contesting the elections for the party’s top post, Nath told reporters, “Ask him in this regard if he is willing.”
On the ongoing political turmoil in Rajasthan, the party veteran said he was told by Gehlot that he was not involved in the meeting organised by the legislators there.
Those involved in the meeting were served the show-cause notice for indiscipline, he said.
When asked if he is giving a clean chit to Gehlot, Nath said he was only giving information about what the Rajasthan CM told him.
He said he doesn’t want to be involved in the developments in Rajasthan because he wants to focus on Madhya Pradesh.
Nath said that the Congress observers had organised the meeting in Rajasthan for one-on-one discussion like it had happened in Madhya Pradesh earlier and Arjun Singh was selected for the post of MP chief minister in 1980.
The Congress on Tuesday night issued show-cause notices to three Ashok Gehlot loyalists – Rajasthan ministers Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi, and Dharmendra Rathore.
These legislators were served notices after 82 MLAs participated in a parallel meeting at Dhariwal’s residence in Jaipur laying down conditions to the party and did not attend the official legislature party meeting convened for passing a resolution authorising the Congress chief to appoint a successor to CM Gehlot, who was to contest the Congress presidential election.
Amid the developments in Rajasthan putting a cloud over Gehlot’s candidature, Tharoor seems set to contest the polls for the top post, but it is not clear who will be his electoral rival.
According to a notification issued by the party on Thursday, the process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30.
The date for scrutiny of nomination papers is October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The final list of candidates will be published at 5 pm on October 8.
The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day. (PTI)