Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): In a dig at Kamal Nath after his 'tear clothes' remark caused flutter and triggered speculation of rift in Congress, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday said Nath had earlier given a similar power of attorney to his colleague Digvijaya Singh to run the government.
Mocking Nath, Chouhan also said Congress leaders are amazing as they give the "power of attorney" to others even for taking abuses.
The trigger for the talks of a "rift" between Digvijaya and Nath ahead of the assembly polls was a video of Nath telling agitated supporters of a ticket aspirant to "go and tear clothes" of Digvijaya (over the denial of the ticket).
Nath, who heads the MP Congress unit, and Digvijaya, a former chief minister, later made light of the episode and put up a united face.
"Kamal Nath has revealed that he had given a power of attorney to Digvijaya Singh to take abuses on his (Nath's) behalf which is valid till now," Chouhan said.
He was speaking to reporters in the Madhya Pradesh BJP office after Congress leader Siddharth Tiwari, grandson of former assembly speaker late Sriniwas Tiwari, a stalwart from the Vindhya region, joined the saffron party.
Nath has made such an arrangement that even if abuses are hurled at him someone else should receive them on his behalf, Chouhan said.
"Nath had given a similar power of attorney to Digvijaya Singh to run the state government (after the Congress came to power in December 2018). Earlier also 'bantadhar' (spoilsport) happened and now also 'bantdhar' (a term used by the BJP for Digvijaya Singh) is happening," the chief minister alleged.
When Digvijaya Singh was the chief minister of the state (before 2003), Madhya Pradesh suffered badly and people are fully aware of it, the BJP leader said.
The Congress formed a coalition government under Kamal Nath after the 2018 assembly elections with the support of Independents, and MLAs from SP and BSP. However, the government collapsed after 15 months in March 2020 when several MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party and joined BJP.
In the viral video, Nath was heard telling a group of people, said to be supporters of party leader Virendra Raghuvanshi, that he had left the issue of (selection of Raghuvanshi's seat) to Digvijaya Singh and his MLA-son Jaivardhan Singh which might have caused some confusion.
The state Congress president is then heard telling the group to "tear the clothes" of Digvijaya Singh (over the ticket denial issue).
Amid the row, Digvijaya Singh called for a "patient solution".
On Tuesday, both Nath and Digvijaya Singh were seen together at the release of the Congress manifesto in the state capital for the November 17 polls and they talked about the video's content in a lighter vein.
As BJP latched on to the video to target Congress, Nath clarified that the relations between Digvijaya and him are not merely political.
"It is of love. I have given the power of attorney long back to him (Digvijaya), which was for listening abuses for Kamal Nath. This power of attorney is still valid," Nath said jokingly.
Polling for the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh will be held in a single phase on November 17 and votes will be counted on December 3.