Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh govt formation LIVE Updates: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has arrived at Rahul Gandhi's residence as Madhya Pradesh CM post front-runner Jyotiraditya Scindia was already present at his residence. Earlier in the day, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also seen at Rahul's residence.
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh govt formation LATEST Updates: Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Kamal Nath announced as the chief minister of the newly-elected Congress government in the state.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has deferred the decision on naming the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for Friday as he wants to hold further discussions with party leaders, party sources told PTI.
The decision on naming the Rajasthan chief minister is likely to be announced late Thursday night, News18 quoted sources as saying.
Rahul and Sonia Gandhi have not been able to placate Sachin Pilot, News18 quoted sources as saying. Pilot reportedly told Sonia and Rahul not making him Rajasthan chief minister will 'send the wrong message'.
Kamal Nath is set to be the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, NDTV, ABP and India Today quoted sources as saying. Nath will reportedly be sworn in on 15 December, sources said. Firstpost has not been able to independently verify these reports.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, speaking to ANI after leaving party chief Rahul Gandhi's residence, said, "It is not a race, it is not about kursi, we are here to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh. I am leaving for Bhopal and you will get to know the decision today."
Speaking to ANI after leaving Congress president Rahul Gandhi's residence, Kamal Nath said he was leaving for Bhopal where an MLAs meeting would be held. "We will announce the CM name after that," the senior grand old party leader said.
Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has been told to remain in Delhi by Congress high command, according to several media reports. Gehlot returned to his Delhi residence from the airport,
Rajasthan Congress leader Ashok Gehlot told ANI the decision on naming the chief minister of Rajasthan would be taken soon and there is nothing to worry about. "Te decision has to be taken on CMs of three states so naturally, it takes time. The party president will take a call," the Rajasthan chief ministerial candidate said.
Rajasthan CM probable Sachin Pilot has urged his supporters to maintain decorum after reports emerged that his supporters have blocked a road in Karauli. In his tweet, Pilot also said that he has full confidence in the party leadership and that he will take whatever decision is taken by Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, a poster congratulating Kamal Nath for being named CM has been put up outside the Congress' Bhopal office, ANI reported.
Congress workers clashed outside the home of Chhattisgarh chief minister contender Bhupesh Baghel, News18 reported.
Jyotiraditya Scindia's supporters have congregated outside the Congress party office in Bhopal, ANI reported.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has arrived at Rahul Gandhi's residence as Madhya Pradesh CM post front-runner Jyotiraditya Scindia was already present at his residence. Earlier in the day, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also seen at Rahul's residence.
The long wait to know the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is about to be over. The Congress party has called a press conference t around 4 pm which will also be attended by Rahul Gandhi. It is expected that Rahul will reveal the names of the chief ministers of two states.
Congress leader Avinash Pandey and Rajasthan observer KC Venugopal met Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday. Speaking to the press later, they said that Rahul has been made aware of their discussions in Rajasthan, and he will take the final decision after speaking to Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. A decision is likely by today evening.
File image of Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Kamal Nath. PTI
Emotions are running high in Rajasthan as Congress workers are divided in factions over the chief minister's pick. According to India Today, a supporter of Rajesh Pilot, the Congress Pradesh Committee Chief, has penned a letter to Rahul Gandhi. The letter was apparently written in blood.
Meanwhile, News18 reported that several supporters of Ashok Gehlot, also a front-runner for Rajasthan chief minister, are conducting a puja in Jodhpur to pray for the two-time chief minister.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who was in Parliament in New Delhi said, "We are taking inputs from different people in the party. We are taking inputs from MLAs, from workers. You will see a Chief Minister soon."
Rahul Gandhi has reached out directly to the party workers in the three states to know their top choice for the chief minister post through an internal mobile messaging app, party leaders said. He is said to have recorded a special audio message, urging MLAs to let him know their preference directly via the internal messaging app. Congress chief assured the Congress workers of complete secrecy, adding that their preferences will only be known to Rahul himself, and no one else.
So far, reports indicate that scales are tipped in favour of experience rather than youth. All signs point to Nath and Gehlot leading the race in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. However, internal sources told CNN-News18 that there's an undercurrent of support for the idea that the respective Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs should be chosen as the chief ministers of the states. The argument makes Kamal Nath, Sachin Pilot and Bhupesh Baghel the chief minster probables in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh respectively. A proposal has circulated internally within the Congress circles to this effect. It remains to be seen whether Congress chief takes this argument into account.
With numbers in place to form governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the elected Congress MLAs on Wednesday authorised the party's national president Rahul Gandhi to decide the chief ministers as senior leaders including top contenders held hectic parleys through the day and till late in night.
As suspense mounted on who would get the top job in the three states, party leaders said the names could now be announced on Thursday after Gandhi meets the observers appointed for the three states and other senior leaders.
Gandhi, on the other hand, has also reached out directly to the party workers in the three states to know their top choice for the chief minister post through an internal mobile messaging app, party leaders said.
Among other two states that also went to polls, K Chandrashekar Rao would be sworn in as Chief Minister on Thursday with his party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, storming back to power for the second consecutive term and with a bigger mandate.
In Mizoram, where Mizo National Front has trounced Congress to wrest power of the hill state, the party president Zoramthanga would be sworn in as chief minister on Saturday.
In all the three states where Congress has emerged victorious signalling a newfound energy in the party ranks to stop the BJP juggernaut before the 2019 general elections, the newly-elected MLAs met in the presence of party's central observers, while party leaders also met governors in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to stake government formation claims.
In Rajasthan, the top contenders for the top post are Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, both of whom won huge victories in their constituencies.
After a late night meeting, Pilot told waiting reporters that the process of getting the feedback was almost complete and the party high-command would take the final decision on Thursday.
He did not give any direct reply to a pointed question on whether he was ready to take the responsibility, saying "Let's see, what happens".
In Madhya Pradesh, where three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhhan tendered his resignation to Governor Anandiben Patel, the Congress team that later met the governor to stake government claim included two top contenders for the top job -- Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Scindia also later told reporters that a final decision was expected Thursday.
The MLAs in Chhattisgarh also met late evening in Raipur in presence of the party's central observer Mallikarjun Kharge. There are as many four names doing the round for the state chief minister post -- Lok Sabha member Tamradhwaj Sahu, state party chief Bhupesh Baghel, Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly TS Singhdeo and senior leader Charandas Mahant.
The legislature party meeting in Jaipur lasted for almost seven hours, while Bhopal and Raipur also saw long-running meetings.
The top leaders from the three states, as also the central observers, are expected to meet Gandhi on Thursday, while hectic lobbying was expected to continue through the night on Wednesday.
Central observers A K Antony for Madhya Pradesh and K C Venugopal for Rajasthan took the opinion of newly-elected MLAs, party leaders said.
Senior party leaders in the national capital said the meetings of MLAs and authorising the party chief is part of an established process within the party for selecting the chief ministers.
Belying predictions of exit polls, the Congress won convincingly in Chhattisgarh, less so in Rajasthan, and scraped through with a wafer-thin lead in Madhya Pradesh, final results showed after the vote count on Tuesday.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi described the party's good showing in the Hindi heartland states as a victory over the BJP's "negative politics".
The Congress emerged as the single-largest party in Rajasthan in Tuesday's vote count, winning 99 seats. It's ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won one seat for a total of 100 seats -- the required number to form government.
The BJP got 73 seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party won 6 seats. BSP leader Mayawati on Wednesday pledged support for the Congress. The CPI(M) got two seats, Independents won 13 and other parties got 6, according to the state Election Commission.
The Congress victory in Chhattisgarh ended the 15-year rule of the Raman Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party government. It won 68 seats in the 90-member Assembly, while the BJP got only 15 seats. A party needs to win 46 seats to form government in the state. The Congress got 43 per cent of the total votes polled in the state, while the BJP got 33 per cent.
After a see-saw battle on Tuesday, Congress emerged as the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh with 114 seats, two short of a simple majority. The BJP, which had ruled the state for 15 years, got 109 seats.
Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav announced their parties' support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, where BSP has got two and SP one seat. Congress has also claimed support of the four independents, all party rebels, who have emerged victorious.
In Mumbai, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the Assembly election results mark the "beginning of a change" and a "rejection" of the BJP-led government's policies. The Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, said people have brought "those flying in the air back to the ground".