Jamuna Devi remains Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh assembly

January 4th, 2009 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiBhopal, Jan 4 (IANS) The Congress has decided to retain Jamuna Devi as its legislature party (CLP) leader in Madhya Pradesh in recognition of her ‘fighting spirit’ shown as leader of the opposition in the previous legislature, the party said Sunday. “A decision to retain Jamuna Devi was taken at a meeting of senior party leaders late Saturday at Delhi while Sajjan Singh Verma, who was also in the race for the post, has been nominated her deputy”, party spokesperson Manak Aggarwal told IANS.

The appointment comes almost after a month of state assembly results being announced.

Aggarwal said Congress president Sonia Gandhi decided upon Jamuna Devi’s name after her meeting with party leaders Veerappa Moily, V. Narayanasamy and Gurudas Kamat, all of whom had attended the CLP meeting in Bhopal a fortnight ago as observers.

However, the various factions, blaming each other over the debacle in the poll - were unable to agree on a leader and asked Gandhi to take the final decision.

There were about half a dozen claimants to the post, including Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh’s son Ajay Singh, Mahendra Singh Kalukheda, a supporter of Minister of State for Communications Jyotiraditya Scindia, former minister Harvansh Singh, as well as Jamuna Devi and Verma, a supporter of Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.

In her political career spanning more than five decades, Jamuna Devi has held several key positions including that of deputy chief minister in the second term of Digvijay Singh (1998-2003). After the Congress lost the 2003 poll, she was nominated as CLP leader and in effect, leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

The only sitting legislator in the state who was a member of the Madhya Bharat assembly in the first election held in independent India in 1952, she has been elected to the state assembly six times. She has also been member of the Lok Sabha (1962-67) and the Rajya Sabha (1978-81).

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