CM choice: Ashok Gehlot in Raj, Kamal Nath in MP
New Delhi: Even though the Congress emerged as the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh with 114 seats in its kitty, the overnight suspense over government formation in the politically sensitive state ended on Wednesday morning after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) extended their support the Grand Old party.
The decision to support Congress in Madhya Pradesh was announced by BSP chief Mayawati, who said that despite political differences, her party has decided to help Congress to stop Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). SP president Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter to announce his decision to back Congress in MP. BSP has won two seats, while SP has bagged one seat.
As soon as the decks were cleared for government formation, the party moved fast and finalised the CMs for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, while in Chhattisgarh the race is still on between two veterans – TP Dev and Baghel.
According to party insiders, the party leadership has 'finalised' the name of Ashok Gehlot as Rajasthan Chief Minister, while Sachin Pilot and CP Joshi would be his deputies.
"In Madhya Pradesh, veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath would be the chief minister, and there would be no deputy CM as Jyotiraditya Scindia refused the party's offer to become Kamal Nath's deputy CM," a party insider said, adding that party has agreed to accommodate Scindia's MLAs in the cabinet.
Scindia had made his CM ambitions known on Wednesday saying, "Though it's the high command that will decide the CM face, it will be a privilege if I am given a chance to become Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh."
Early in the day, a delegation of Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders led by Kamal Nath submitted a list of 121 MLAs to Governor Anandiben Patel to stake claim to form a government. The BJP chose not to wade into a controversy by repeating a Karnataka- like fiasco and decided to quit the race.
As per party insiders, the party handled the Rajasthan situation tactfully and decided to appoint two deputy CMs to 'douse' the fire of revolt in the party. It is a two-horse race for CM in Chhattisgarh with – TS Singh Deo and Bhupesh Baghel being claimants for the top job.
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". "It was a Congress victory over the BJP's negative politics," she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi accepted the defeat and said that the results would further their resolve to serve people and work even harder for the development of India.
Earlier Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the party's impressive performance in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was a victory of Congress workers and farmers, shopkeepers and small business owners.