Former Madhya Pradesh 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 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 this word is written in the Lok Sabha and in the Vidhan Sabha. It shows Nath is searching for a reason to save his skin.
Nath’s statement has also exposed the political understanding of those who are in his team of advisers. Everyone is saying the word Nath used for Imarti Devi is wrong. However, in a late night development, Nath apologised for his remark.
However, timely regret would have rung down the curtain over the issue. His early apology could have saved him from the criticism he faced across the country.
In addition, the National Commission for Women has also taken an exception to the matter and issued a notice.
Nath tried to tell everyone the meaning of ‘item’, whereas he could have said his remark was not meant to offend any woman. Nath’s advisers have failed to think the statement is not confined to the byelections and it has dented the image of a respectable national leader. There are leaders known for making controversial statements, and Mani Shankar Aiyar, Anant Hegde and Griraj Kishore are to name a few.
Nath kept Digvijaya Singh away from campaigning, so that there may not be any controversy. But Nath has invited a trouble for himself.
He had enough time to bury the hatchet but he stuck to his guns. His aides failed to convince him this is the time to abandon stubbornness and show humility.
The politics in Gwalior and Chambal region is so sensitive 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 byelections will be known only after the results are out.