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Sonia Gandhi meets Rahul on 3 chief ministers, announcement likely tonight

Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot have already Congress president Rahul Gandhi separately and are headed to Rajasthan where the formal announcement would be made

india Updated: Dec 13, 2018 17:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Congress,Chief Minister
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi met Congress President Rahul Gandhi at his home on Thursday to discuss the chief ministers for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the three states the party wrested from BJP in the recently-held assembly elections.(PTI file photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that party would soon decide on the chief minister of Rajasthan, where party unit chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot are in contention for the post.

“Consultations with with MLAs and party workers are on, you will see a chief minsiter soon,” said the Congress president , according to ANI, shortly before he headed into meetings with the front-runners for the chief minister’s job in Rajasthan.

Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot have met him separately and are expected to head to Rajasthan soon where the Congress legislature party would formally pass a resolution.

Later, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also reached Rahul Gandhi’s Tuglaq Lane house in the national capital for last-minute consultations. Sonia Gandhi was at Rahul’s house for about an hour.

Rahul Gandhi is also meeting observers appointed for Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to choose chief ministers in the states the party won in the elections, results of which were declared on Tuesday.

The Congress was one short of a clear majority in Rajasthan, winning 99 of the 199 seats for which polls were held. In Madhya Pradesh, it was two seats short of the 116 mark while in Chhattisgarh, it had bagged two-thirds majority with 68 seats.

The decision on chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan has been made, a Congress source said, adding that the announcements had been delayed over Chhattisgarh.

A meeting of the legislature party was held on Wednesday in the three states, where the newly-elected lawmakers authorised Gandhi to select the chief minister for them. The party said it will choose the candidates for the top job in the states after taking the opinion of each of the newly elected legislators. Gandhi, in turn, appointed AK Antony for Madhya Pradesh, Mallikarjun Kharge for Chhattisgarh and KC Venugopal for Rajasthan.

“Congress believes in the democratic process of knowing the viewpoint of each elected legislator. After consulting everybody, we’ll give a CM candidate and a government that truly reflects will of people of these three states,” party’s spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Wednesday.

In MP, the party faces a directional choice between the experience of two veterans and the dynamism of two young leaders in their forties.

Former Union minister and state Congress president Kamal Nath, 72, and the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha and campaign committee chief for the state, Jyotiraditya Scindia, 47, are the front-runners for the post in Madhya Pradesh. Both did not contest the assembly elections.

The race in Chhattisgarh is primarily between state unit chief and Patan MLA Bhupesh Baghel, party veteran TS Singh Deo, who was the leader of opposition in the former assembly, and the party’s lone Lok Sabha MP from the state, Tamradhwaj Sahu.

“The observer started the conversation, asking about the election, [the legislator’s] political background and then asked the opinion [on who should be CM]. The process took 3-4 minutes,” said a legislator who did not want to be named.

Another source in Chhattisgarh said Gandhi has personally spoken to around 20 MLAs and Kharge has met all the 68 legislators.

In MP, Nath and Scindia, along with senior leaders Digvijaya Singh, Suresh Pachauri, Vivek Tankha and Arun Yadav, met Governor Anandiben Patel to stake the party’s claim for government formation.

“Of course, it will be a privilege,” Scindia told reporters when asked whether he would be interested in taking up the post of the chief minister in MP. He said he would abide by whatever the party decided.

First Published: Dec 13, 2018 10:07 IST