In a political career spanning over 40 years, Kamal Nath faced, arguably, his most challenging battle this March was when he was forced to resign as Madhya Pradesh chief minister just 15 months after assuming office. The defeat of 73-year-old Nath, orchestrated by Jyotiraditya Scindia has also come as a shock to the Congress at a time when it is fighting to stay relevant in Indian politics. Nath spoke to Puneet Nicholas Yadav about what went wrong but maintained that the loss of his government is only a temporary setback.
The Congress won a hard-earned victory in December 2018 against the BJP, which had ruled Madhya Pradesh for 15 consecutive years. Your government collapsed in 15 months. What went wrong?
From the time I assumed office, the BJP began plotting to topple our government. The BJP could never come to terms with having lost the assembly polls.
Of the 15 months that I was chief minister, over two months were wasted because of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls. Effectively, my government could function only for a little over 12 months. In these 12 months, we managed to fulfill or initiate the process to fulfill 400 of our manifesto promises, starting with the loan waiver for farmers. I also launched a war against the mafia that was thriving under the BJP’s rule. We ensured uninterrupted power supply across the state. I gave a model of governance that was different from the BJP’s—our model was based on accountability, was oriented towards the people and towards delivery. The BJP and the mafia that thrived under the party couldn’t digest this. And yes, I also did not calculate that some of our MLAs would fall for the lure of money.
So was your confidence in your MLAs misplaced? Did you place too much...