The Congress has invited leaders from across the political spectrum for the swearing-in ceremony of party stalwart Kamal Nath taking charge as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on December 17.
Nath, a nine-time MP from Chhindwara seat and currently president of state Congress unit, will take oath at a grand function to be held at Jamboree Maidan in BHEL area instead of Lal Parade Ground as announced earlier.
He had told reporters Friday that the swearing-in ceremony would take place at Lal Parade Ground around 1.30 pm.
According to sources in Congress, the change of venue is apparently aimed at accommodating a huge crowd the party is expecting for the ceremony.
Notably, Jambooree Maidan is the venue where Nath’s predecessor Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the Bharatiya Janata Party had taken oath with much fanfare in 2008 and 2013.
“I will take oath alone,” Nath said, when asked who else will take oath along with him. This means that aspirants seeking ministerial berths will have to wait for some more time.
Nath will become the first chief minister of a Congress government in the central Indian state after a gap of 15 years.
Digvijaya Singh was the last chief minister of Congress in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP snatched power from the grand old party in 2003 and went on to retain it till its narrow defeat on December 11.
According to Congress sources, apart from United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party president Rahul Gandhi, Nath has invited West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav for the event. Besides, chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states are being invited, they said.
Leading industrialists and religious sants will also be present on the occasion, sources said.
The BSP and SP have extended their support to Nath for forming the government, after the Congress failed to cross the halfway mark (115) on its own.
The Congress won 114 seats in the 230-member assembly.
The party has secured support of total 121 MLAs, including SP (1), BSP (2) and four Independent MLAs.
Apart from Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has come to power in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan by dislodging the respective BJP governments there in the latest polls.