Kamal Nath named MP CM; Gehlot holds 'edge' in Raj
New Delhi: After a cliff-hanger verdict in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Congress veteran Kamal Nath on Thursday edged out younger contender Jyotiraditya Scindia in the chief ministerial battle in Madhya Pradesh. However, in Rajasthan, though the high command has 'picked' Ashok Gehlot for the CM's job, hope still flickers for 41-year old Sachin Pilot.
Sources in the Congress said that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's prod may have tilted the scales in favour of Nath in MP.
As the suspense over government formation in Madhya Pradesh ended on early Wednesday, the party's top leadership left to the state leaders to pick their respective CMs.
A photo tweeted by Rahul Gandhi after his meeting with Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday evening, in the middle of a tense race for the chief minister's post was a dead giveaway.
Gandhi quoted famous writer Leo Tolstoy to caption his photo with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, their arms linked in harmony: "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
According to party insiders, when several rounds of discussion with party leaders fail to yield any results, the matter reached All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters, wherein the names of Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot was 'approved' for the top post.
The row over CM selection took a new turn on Thursday when supporters of both the old guard and young Turks came to the fore at party headquarters in Bhopal and Jaipur with the banners in support of their leaders – Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.
However, according to party insiders, the names for the CM of both the crucial states were already 'decided' on Wednesday, and the party didn't make it public due to some 'internal' reasons.
Later in the day, all the four contenders for the two CM posts reached the national capital and met Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Things came to such a pass that the Gandhi family went into a huddle for over 3 hours. The meeting to select CMs for three states was held in the presence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. In the critical meeting, Priyanka Gandhi was also present.
The decision to name the CMs took more than the expected time as the Congress, after winning all three states, wanted to keep both generations united to fight the mother of all battles – Lok Sabha election in 2019.
Meanwhile, it is a two-horse race for CM in Chhattisgarh with – TS Singh Deo and Bhupesh Baghel being claimants for the job, the decision will be made public on Friday.