Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Monday sworn in as Madhya Pradesh chief minister at a ceremony attended by a galaxy of leaders. Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to 72-year-old Nath, who led the Congress to victory in the recently-concluded state assembly polls. No other minister took oath along with him.
The Congress on Thursday had named Nath, the nine-time Lok Sabha member from Chhindwara, to head the state Congress legislature party, after hours of hectic parleys held by party chief Rahul Gandhi with senior party leaders. On his arrival at the venue, Gandhi was greeted with loud cheers by the crowd. He was flanked by Nath and state Congress' campaign
committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, LJD leader Sharad Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, his party leader Praful Patel, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi, DMK leader MK Stalin and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav were among those present at the event. BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who have extended support to the Congress to form the government in the state, were not present.
Former PM Manmohan Singh, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajasthan's new CM Ashok Gehlot, his deputy Sachin Pilot, former Haryana CM Bhupendra Singh Hudda and Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy were also present. Former MP chief minister and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and senior Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Raj Babbar and Rajiv Shukla were among those who attended the ceremony. Three former BJP chief ministers -- Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Kailash Joshi and Babulal Gaur – too were present on the stage.
Born at Kanpur to businessman father Mahendra Nath and mother Leela, Nath is an alumnus of the prestigious Doon School in Dehradun). He did his graduation from St Xavier's College, Kolkata, before taking a plunge into politics. Nath was named the Congress chief in Madhya Pradesh in April ahead of the Assembly polls. Many in the party recalled that former prime minister Indira Gandhi described him as her “third son,” who helped her take on the Morarji Desai-led regime in 1979.
Thirty-nine years later, the senior-most member in the 16th Lok Sabha donned the battle gear to help Rahul Gandhi make huge gains for the opposition in MP where Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the longest-serving CM since 2003.