"All 22 present in meeting had accepted Kamal Nath as their leader," Sajjan Verma said. (File)
Two senior Congress leaders sparred over the choice of Madhya Pradesh unit president Kamal Nath as the party's chief ministerial face for the state Assembly polls likely to be held at the end of the year.
The war of words between Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Govind Singh and Kamal Nath loyalist MLA Sajjan Singh Verma took place after a meeting on Madhya Pradesh poll preparations was held in Delhi on May 29, which was attended by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi.
After attending the meeting, Govind Singh had said, "The Congress is a democratic party. It is not the Congress tradition to announce the CM face in advance. The public will elect the MLAs, who will further choose the CM." Hitting back, Sajjan Singh Verma said, "Govind Singh ji sometimes forgets whether MLAs have elected him as the leader of the opposition? No, he was not elected by MLAs. He was senior so we also agreed on his appointment as leader of opposition." Sajjan Singh Verma said the people of Madhya Pradesh and party leaders want Kamal Nath as the state's CM, adding that Goivnd Singh should behave the way in which he expects others to do with him.
"All 22 present (in Rahul Gandhi's meeting) had accepted Kamal Nath as their leader. This is on record. All leaders accepted that the 2023 polls will be fought under Kamal Nath's leadership," Sajjan Singh Verma asserted.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Sajjan Singh Verma issued a video statement claiming his comment had been wrongly interpreted by the media.
"It is true all the senior leaders have decided to contest Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls under the leadership of Kamal Nath... I have said several times he is our party's leader," he said.
Govind Singh, however, maintained the chief minister is selected after the elections and in the legislature party.
Meanwhile, Congress Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh also said party leaders want the polls to be fought under Kamal Nath's leadership.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)