Ujjain, July 7 (IANS) Former chief minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath arrived here for ‘Darshan’ of Mahakal before the start of his campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats in the state.
The Ujjain visit was due on July 3 but was washed out due to heavy rains.
There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. He had started the campaign with a ‘pooja’ at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convener then.
Kamal Nath has few more pilgrimages lined up in the next few days before he gets to the war-room to be set up in Gwalior, the Scindia bastion.
Shortly after the ‘pooja’ and meeting with the party colleagues, Kamal Nath left for Badnawar to address the first rally — ‘Loktantra Bachao’ (save democracy) rally.
Though Scindia and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Jyotiraditya was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Singh was asked to bring about patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status. Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Shivraj Chouhan’s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town, once part of the Gwalior state has responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.
Kamal Nath plans to list the achievements of his party and development works during the 15-month rule to seek return to power.
Kamal Nath held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters’ feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda to be set on local issues. The same strategy will be adopted in all 24 constituencies this time also.
Unlike in 2018 when the main war room was at Bhopal, the party is expected to hire a bungalow in Gwalior where Kamal Nath plans to move to lead the campaign.