Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Kamalnath will be the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. His appointment was announced late on Thursday night after hectic parleys for the better part of the last two days that involved the party president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and others.But a consensus seems to elude the the selection process in Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, the other two states that the Congress replaced the BJP in power.
While Kamalnath is expected to be sworn in within the next couple of days, the generational tussle continued between Ashok Gehlot, the 67 year old two time chief minister and Rajesh Pilot, the prtesient of the state unit. Both leaders took turns meeting the Gandhis yesterday more than once and neither showed signs of yielding. Gandhi also held deliberations with the party’s central observer K C Venugopal and party in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande and took inputs from them to ascertain the views of the Congress’ newly elected legislators on the matter, sources said.
The Congress president gave separate hearings to both Pilot and Gehlot, one representing the young face of the party and the other, the old guard.The individual meetings lasted around 10-15 minutes each and neither Gehlot nor Pilot talked to the media after the meeting.There has been hectic lobbying for the top post and both leaders have staked their claims for the post of chief minister, sources said.
Pilot’s supporters raised slogans outside Gandhi’s office. They vociferously voiced their demand on Wednesday evening too when state legislators were meeting in the Rajasthan capital.
Gandhi sought the 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.
A decision on the post of chief minister will be taken by this evening to enable the oath-taking soon. The Congress has already staked its claim for government formation in Rajasthan, even though it fell slightly short of the simple majority mark.
–India Legal Bureau