Former chief minister Kamal Nath’s image has nosedived. His attitude or his team of advisers may be responsible for it. Nath is considered a serious leader not only in MP but also across the country. Everybody knows that the man who is friends with big industrialists should talk with all the seriousness that behoves to his stature.
Nath’s calling Imarti Devi an ‘item’ may be a mere incident, but his attempts to justify the statement have put a question mark on his political wisdom.
Nath has said calling someone an ‘item’ is not offensive, and that this word is written in the Lok Sabha and in the Vidhan Sabha. This shows Nath is searching for a reason to save his skin.
Nath’s statement has also exposed the political understanding of those who are on his team of advisers. Everyone is saying the word Nath used for Imarti Devi is wrong. Mere expressing regret for it would have rung down the curtain over the issue. His tendering an apology would have saved him from the criticism he is facing across the country. Apart from that, the National Commission for Women has also taken an exception to the matter and issued a notice.
Now, Nath is trying to tell everyone the meaning of the word ‘item’; whereas he could have said his remark was not meant to offend any woman.
Nath’s advisers have failed to think that the statement is not confined to the by-elections and that it has dented the image of a respectable national leader.
There are some leaders known for making controversial statements, and Mani Shankar Aiyar, Anant Hegde and Griraj Kishore are some of them.
Nath kept Digvijaya Singh away from campaigning, so that there may not be any controversy. But Nath has invited a trouble for himself.
Nath had enough time to bury the hatchet. Nevertheless, instead of doing that, he has stuck to his guns. His aides have failed to convince him that this is the time to abandon stubbornness and show humility.
The politics in Gwalior and Chambal region is so sensitive that a non-issue can turn into a major controversy and change the political scene.
What kind of impact Nath’s obstinacy will have on the Congress in the by-elections will be known only after the results are out.