By Utpal Borpujari in Chhindwara (MP)
Union Minister Kamal Nath is confident that he will continue his stint in Parliament winning the current round of Lok Sabha elections again. A party veteran who has been representing Chhindwara since three decades, he knows that Congress has a tough task ahead – of having hard negotiations with potential allies after results are announced on May 16. With Sharad Pawars, Lalu Prasads, Ram Vilas Paswans et al making all kinds of noises regarding government formation and prime minister’s post, Nath shares his views on the issues at hand with Deccan Herald’s Utpal Borpujari:
Q: What kind of post-poll scenario you foresee?
A: We are confident that everything will fall into place and Congress will once again lead the UPA government. Our work is testimony to our strength.
Q: But your allies are already flexing their muscles, with RJD and LJP taking anti-Congress positions and NCP’s Pawar keeping ambivalent about the Prime Minister’s post vis-à-vis Dr Manmohan Singh…
A: Congress will emerge triumphant because it goes to post-poll alliance negotiations without any baggage. We are not like the BJP which has a lot of baggage which weighs against it when it comes to looking for partners. The ability of Congress to make post-poll alliances is much better than BJP’s. And anyway, we are at an advantage as we are going to emerge as the single-largest party.
Q: How are you so confident?
A: I have been part of the political process for a long period, and so I can afford to be confident and relaxed about all this.
Q: What about Madhya Pradesh? Here Congress is alleged to be a divided house with leaders like you, Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Suresh Pachauri only concerned about only their factions.
A: There is no disunity in the party. It is only a perception of disunity. Congress is a large party, and it is only natural that somebody with closer with a particular person than someone else. In every party there will be such instances, and as long as such groups are not hurting each other, what is wrong in that? And anyway, in reality voters are least concerned about whether there is a united face or not, they are more concerned about issues at hand.
Q: What do you have to say about the level of public discourse during campaigning, especially by Varun Gandhi with whose father Sanjay Gandhi you were very close?
A: Varun was born in front of me. Sanjay never supported this kind of politics. Unfortunately, Varun is being misled. This is all about his being in BJP, which is misusing him. But generally, we are a developed and vocal democracy, so there is bound to be war of words. Recall how in the US Presidential elections the hopefuls had tore into one another.