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Stung by exit of aides, Kamal Nath lashes out at BJP for playing 'game of lies and deceit'

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Bhopal, Apr 1 (PTI) Congress veteran Kamal Nath on Monday accused the ruling BJP of playing the "game of lies, deceit and bargaining" in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, criticism coming in the wake of the recent exit of his trusted associates from home turf Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh.

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The former CM alleged that the BJP was misusing the power of money, muscle and administration in elections and threatening opposition leaders.

Nath's outburst follows the defection of his trusted lieutenants, including MLA Kamlesh Shah and Chhindwara mayor Vikram Ahake, to the saffron party, which is keen to wrest this lone Congress seat it lost in 2019.

Shah joined the BJP last Friday and Ahake on Monday.

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Notably, the Chhindwara Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Kamal Nath for nine times in the past, was the only saving grace for the Congress in the 2019 elections when the BJP won the rest 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh. Nath's son Nakul is the sitting MP from Chhindwara and is seeking re-election from the seat which will vote on April 19 in the first phase.

Taking to 'X' (formerly Twitter), Kamal Nath stated he has been working to make Chhindwara the most developed area of India for the past 45 years.

Chhindwara has been my "Karmbhoomi" (workplace), but the BJP wants to turn this sacred land into a "Ranbhoomi" (battlefield)", the former Union minister maintained.

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The Congress stalwart cautioned that the people of Chhindwara are watching the BJP and its activities very carefully and they have decided to give a befitting reply to the ruling party.

"Before every election, the BJP plays the game of lies, deceit, and bargaining, but the election results will reveal that the people of Chhindwara have given appropriate punishment to the BJP for this crime," Nath stated.

The former chief minister emphasised that Chhindwara, where the BJP has given ticket to Vivek Bunty Sahu, will not tolerate any disrespect to its honour and continue its journey on the path of development.

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The Nath senior represents the Chhindwara assembly seat.

Congress leader Kamlesh Shah, a three-term MLA from Amarwara in Chhindwara district, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party along with his wife, Harrai Nagar Palika chairperson Madhvi Shah, and sister, district panchayat member Kesar Netam last week. He also resigned as an MLA.

Earlier on Monday, Congress leader and Chhindwara mayor Vikram Ahake joined the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and state party head VD Sharma in Bhopal.

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Yadav claimed that Ahake crossed over to the ruling party because he was hurt by the "insult" meted out to the tribal community by Nakul Nath.

The chief minister also claimed that Nakul Nath had insulted Shah, who belongs to the Gond tribal royal family, by terming him as dishonest and a "traitor".

Amid BJP efforts to weaken the Congress in its stronghold Chhindwara, speculation had been rife that Kamal Nath and Nakul Nath were planning to switch over to the saffron party. However, the father-son duo had dismissed the rumour as the creation of the media.

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According to political observers, the BJP is aiming to induct one lakh functionaries from other parties across MP, including 50,000 in Chhindwara.

The BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Chhindwara, Vivek Sahu, has claimed over 5,000 Congress workers have already joined the ruling party.

Reacting to Nath's outburst, state cabinet minister and BJP leader Prahlad Patel said the former CM was resorting to his old tactics to confuse voters ahead of polls.

"People active in politics in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh and the country are familiar with the tactics of Kamal Nath. I say with pride that in 2004 I had ended the terror of Kamal Nath. Chhindwara is witness to the repression of BJP workers," Patel told PTI.

Patel, who had taken on Kamal Nath in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, remarked that the 77-year-old Congress politician was shedding crocodile tears to keep people in a state of confusion.

The BJP ideology is the biggest strength of its workers and since Nath has sensed defeat of his son, he is making baseless allegations, the minister noted.

Voters have decided to end dynastic politics in Chhindwara and hand over victory to an ordinary BJP worker like Sahu this time around, he added. PTI ADU NSK RSY

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