Ad on Kamal Nath birthday leaves Congress red-faced

Milind Ghatwai
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. (File photo)

# “Even in 1993, there was talk of Kamal Nath becoming the Chief Minister. It is said Arjun Singh forwarded the name of Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath missed the post. Now after 25 years, he has got the chance to become the Chief Minister with support from Digvijaya Singh.”

# “After the Emergency, when the Janata Party government was in power, Sanjay Gandhi was sent to Tihar jail in 1979. Indira Gandhi was worried about Sanjay’s security. It is said Kamal Nath deliberately fought with a judge who sent to him to Tihar jail for seven days. There he lived with Sanjay Gandhi.”

# “Kamal Nath even faced defeat in Chhindwara in 1996. Sunderlal Patwa (former CM and BJP veteran) knocked him down in the electoral arena.”

These are some of the points in a full-page advertisement carried by a leading Hindi newspaper to mark the birthday of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Monday. While the advertisement carried the name of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, the party said it did not know who issued the advertisement and paid for it. The party also claimed to have ordered a probe into the matter. The Chief Minister is currently in Manali to celebrate his birthday with his family.

Also Read | Don’t put posters etc on my birthday: MP CM Kamal Nath to Congress workers

One point in the advertisement says former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to treat Nath as her third son and that he entered politics because of his friendship with Sanjay Gandhi.

Congress organisation (general secretary) Chandraprabhash Shekhar told The Indian Express that the advertisement had not been issued by the party. “We are finding out who is behind it,’’ he said. One party spokesperson blamed the BJP for releasing the advertisement, while another suggested it was an “inside job”.

Taking a swipe at the ruling party, BJP leader Narottam Mishra said, “The Congress should come clean and reveal which faction released it.’’

The Chief Minister had asked party workers not to put up posters or hoardings marking his birthday. However, local newspapers were full of advertisements issued by supporters — some identified themselves, others did not.