Kamal Nath Out: Leadership Shake-Up In Madhya Pradesh And Chhattisgarh Congress Following Election Defeats

Swarajya News Staff

Dec 17, 2023, 11:21 AM | Updated 11:21 AM IST

Jitu Patwari replaces Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh Congress chief after the party's poll defeat in the state (Photo: Jitendra (Jitu) Patwari/X)
Jitu Patwari replaces Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh Congress chief after the party's poll defeat in the state (Photo: Jitendra (Jitu) Patwari/X)

Following the disappointing results in the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections for the Congress party, Mallikarjun Kharge, the president of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), made significant changes on Saturday (16 December).

Kamal Nath was replaced by Jitu Patwari as the head of the Madhya Pradesh Congress, and Charan Das Mahant, a former Speaker, was appointed as the leader of the legislature party in Chhattisgarh, taking over from former chief minister Bhupesh Baghel.

The leadership change within these states is perceived as implementing a system of accountability, given that the Congress was viewed as the likely victor in Madhya Pradesh and anticipated to replicate its success in Chhattisgarh.

In the Madhya Pradesh assembly, the Congress Legislature Party leader is now MLA Umang Singhar, with MLA Hemant Katare serving as the deputy.

An AICC order expressed appreciation for the contributions of the departing PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) president, Kamal Nath, and confirmed that Deepak Baij would maintain his position as the Pradesh Congress Committee chief in Chhattisgarh.

Despite his recent defeat in the polls from the Rau assembly constituency in Indore district of the Malwa-Nimar region, Patwari, who served as a minister in the Kamal Nath government for 15 months from 2018 to 2020, has been given the responsibility of leading the state unit.

This is the same region from which the BJP picked its new MP Chief Minister, Mohan Yadav.

Since 2018, Patwari has served as the working president of the MPCC.

The young OBC leader seems to be the Congress' pick to challenge the BJP's OBC consolidation in the elections, which the BJP has aimed to strengthen by choosing Yadav as the Chief Minister. The OBCs alone make up about 52 per cent of the state's total population.

After the announcement on Saturday, Nath used the social media platform X to extend his congratulations to Patwari, Singhar, and Katare.

“Hearty congratulations to Shri Jitu Patwari on being nominated as the president of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, Shri Umang Singhar on being nominated as the leader of Congress Legislative Party and Shri Hemant Katare on being nominated as the Deputy Leader,” he wrote.

Mahant has served as the president of the Chhattisgarh Congress on six previous occasions, including periods when he was the acting and working president. In addition, he held a ministerial post in the first Congress government led by Ajit Jogi and in the undivided MP before that.

Following the 2018 election victory, Mahant was in the running for the top position, which ultimately went to Baghel. Subsequently, Mahant was appointed as the Speaker of the Chhattisgarh assembly.

In the recent election where nine members of the former Bhupesh Baghel cabinet, including PCC President Deepak Baij, were defeated, Mahant was one of only two senior leaders to secure a victory, the other being Baghel himself.

He is an OBC leader from the Bilaspur region and is not associated with any of the accusations that plagued the previous administration.

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