New Delhi: After day-long meetings and consultations, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday night picked Kamal Nath over Jyotiraditya Scindia for the chief minister’s post in Madhya Pradesh. However, in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – the two other heartland states the Congress managed to win from the BJP – the race for the top job is still on.
For Rajasthan, Gandhi was also expected to pick Ashok Gehlot, 67, or Sachin Pilot, 41. He had a late-night meeting with Gehlot on Thursday, immediately after his meet with Pilot.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to hold a fresh round of discussions today with the two chief ministerial aspirants in Rajasthan, before taking a final call for the top post, reported PTI.
Senior Congress leader and Rajasthan observer KC Venugopal told ANI that there would be a final decision on who would assume the office of chief minister in Rajasthan on Friday morning.
However, media reports suggest, the decision of Rajasthan’s next chief minister is likely to be taken before noon and will be made public at a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in state capital Jaipur.
The race in Chhattisgarh is primarily among state unit chief and Patan MLA Bhupesh Baghel, party veteran TS Singh Deo, who was the leader of opposition in the former assembly, and the party’s lone Lok Sabha MP from the state, Tamradhwaj Sahu.
As Congress leaders discussed the options in Delhi on Thursday, supporters got restless in Rajasthan blocking roads and staging protests. They gathered outside the party office and the residences of Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot holding placards, cutouts and shouting slogans.
On Thursday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi told reporters at Parliament House: “Yes, you will see a chief minister soon. We are checking, taking inputs from different people in the party. We are taking inputs from MLAs and workers. We are getting a comprehensive answer to what the Congress party and others feel.”
Gandhi had earlier sought views of party workers through an internal messaging system with a pre-recorded message asking them to send their views directly to him through the application.
This is not the first time a party has delayed announcing the names for the top job in a state. The BJP took nine days after the results of the Maharashtra elections were announced in October 2014 to pick Devendra Fadnavis as its chief minister. And in March 2017, it took the BJP eight days after the Uttar Pradesh election results to name Yogi Adityanath for the job.