Madhya Pradesh: Kamal Nath to stay in the state as Congress seeks new faces in Gwalior-Chambal region

After losing the MP bypolls, the Congress is seeking fresh faces in the Gwalior-Chambal region to counter Jyotiraditya Scindia who has proved his mettle. The party could win only 9 out of 28 seats in the bypolls.

Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath has asserted that he won't leave state politics and is not keen on returning to national politics. Nath said at a party meeting in Bhopal ,"Those who say that he will leave the state must realise I will serve Madhya Pradesh till I am alive. We will fight and win."

Politically Kamal Nath, who is the state President, wants to quell all speculation about leaving the state and to stall any move of him being replaced from the state president's post. But the real challenge for the Congress is to regain its hold in the Gwalior -Chambal region where the exodus of the MLAs led to the fall of the government.

The Congress has to find a new leader in the area, said a party insider. "People thought after the departure of Scindia ji the Congress would end. But a new Congress has stood up."

The Congress has the double challenge to counter Scindia's popularity in the area as well as the BSP which has damaged the Congress in the Bundelkhand region. Phool Singh Baraiya who lost by less than 200 votes from Bhander seat could be a good bet for the party as he has been former state chief of the BSP.

The Congress is indicating it may provide opportunities to fresh faces in the state.

In Madhya Pradesh, 25 out of 28 seats that went to poll were necessitated after 'Operation Kamal' which toppled the Kamal Nath government followed by former Congress legislators joining BJP. The BJP won 19 seats out of 28 here. Interestingly, out of 22 former Congress leaders-turned BJP candidates, 15 emerged victorious.

The BJP won a greater number of seats, even when the margins are as low as 161 as was the case of Raksha Santram Saronia, who defeated popular Dalit leader Phool Singh Baraiya in Bhander.

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