Kamal Nath is next Madhya Pradesh CM; Jyotiraditya Scindia loses out as Congress chief picks old hand

After much deliberation and several meetings, Congress announced on Thursday that Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief  Kamal Nath the next Madhya Pradesh chief minister, according to several media reports.

Nath was late on Thursday announced as the chief minister of the newly-elected Congress government in the state. The party also tweeted wishing Nath over his election as the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

There will not be a deputy chief minister in Madhya Pradesh.

The announcement comes after a prolonged delay following the nail-biting drama which saw the Congress dethroning the former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led three-term BJP government in the state.

Earlier Thursday, a spate of news reports emerged that Nath's name had been finalised and that it was only a matter of time before the official announcement was made. Congress president Rahul Gandhi earlier held deliberations with central observers and MLAs at his residence over the top posts in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and said the names of the chief ministers would be declared soon.

The Congress won 114 seats in the Madhya Pradesh state polls but was two short of the simple majority mark of 116 in the 230-member Assembly.

Even as Nath emerged as the front-runner for the post, a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader accused the Congress leadership of "protecting the perpetrators" of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The Akali Dal has accused Nath of a hand in the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the national capital following the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

"Whenever the Gandhi family comes to power, it protects the perpetrators of the 1984 riots. Now Rahul Gandhi and the Gandhi family are rewarding Kamal Nath as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh...," Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said, according to PTI.

Senior Congress leader and nine-time MP Kamal Nath.

Senior Congress leader and nine-time MP Kamal Nath.

Rahul met party observers KC Venugopal for Rajasthan and AK Antony for Madhya Pradesh early morning along with the state unit in-charges and later met the contenders. "Yes, you will see a chief minister soon...," Rahul said when asked about when the decision will be taken. "We are checking, taking inputs from different people in the party, we are taking inputs from MLAs, workers. We are getting a comprehensive answer to what the Congress party and others feel," he told reporters outside Parliament as the race for the top post in the three states hots up within the party.

The potential chief ministers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh were earlier called in from Jaipur and Bhopal for last-minute discussions with the party president. The party observers gave their inputs to Rahul after talking to the newly-elected MLAs in the states. The state legislature parties of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh earlier passed a one-line resolution authorising the party president to take the final decision on chief ministers.

The contenders for the top post in Rajasthan—Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot—and in Madhya Pradesh—Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia—arrived early morning in the national capital. Rahul also sought the views of party workers in the three states through an internal messaging platform after he sent out a pre-recorded audio message to them seeking their feedback on their choice of chief ministerial candidate in their respective states.

Congress observer for Chattisgarh Mallikarjun Kharge will also be handing over his report to the Congress president after he met the newly-elected legislators in Chhattisgarh as also the top contenders. Facing his first test within the Congress, Rahul started hectic deliberations with senior party leaders since early morning Thursday. Sources said Priyanka Gandhi was also present at Rahul's Tughlaq Lane residence before a final call on the chief ministers was taken. Top party leaders, including Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pande and Madhya Pradesh in-charge Deepak Babariya, were also present.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2018 23:23:47 IST

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