IANS /New Delhi
Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath was yesterday chosen as the leader of Congress legislature party by the newly elected party MLAs in the state.
The decision was made at a meeting convened soon after Kamal Nath reached Bhopal, along with party MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was the other contender for the post.
The two leaders had earlier met party President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
The Congress party also tweeted about Kamal Nath being the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and said that an era of change will dawn in the state.
“Our best wishes to Kamal Nath for being elected chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. An era of change is upon Madhya Pradesh with him at the helm,” the party said.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, an aspirant to the post of chief minister, met party president Rahul Gandhi yesterday night for the second time in a day amid indications that party leader Ashok Gehlot would be leader of the legislature party in the state.
Pilot, who had a meeting with Gandhi earlier in the day, reached Gandhi’s residence at 10.30pm.
The meeting came hours after the leadership issue was settled in Madhya Pradesh, with Gandhi tweeting his picture with state party chief Kamal Nath and party MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, who were both chief ministerial aspirants.
The smiling picture carried the line “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy.”
Party sources said Gandhi is keen to give a similar message for Rajasthan as well.
Both in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress missed the majority mark by two seats and is now dependent on some external support.
Earlier, Pilot, who stayed put in Delhi and decided to shelve his plan to return to Jaipur, appealed to party workers to maintain peace, saying he would “welcome” any decision that will be taken by the party.
Gehlot, who was planning to leave for Jaipur, was also asked to stay back in Delhi.
Pilot reportedly put up a strong claim to the post on the ground that he had galvanised the party after the defeat in 2013, when he was appointed the state party chief.
In the earlier meeting, Gehlot and Pilot met Rahul at his residence in Delhi where he was joined by his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Sonia is understood to have counselled Rahul over relying on “experience” as it was a verdict with a narrow margin of victory and a seasoned leader would be better equipped to deal with a situation in which the party would need the backing of MLAs belonging to the Bahujan Samaj Party and Independents, who won 13 seats. Most of them are Congress rebels.
The party won 99 seats and with its pre-poll alliance partner it managed to touch the halfway mark in the 200-member Assembly.
Rahul also met party leaders from Chhattisgarh to decide on the chief minister in the state. The Congress central observer for Chhattisgarh, Mallikarjuna Kharge, and state in-charge P L Punia met Rahul at his residence soon after he finished discussing Madhya Pradesh.
Kharge, who went to Raipur on Wednesday, ascertained views of party MLAs individually and apprised Rahul.
State Congress unit president Bhupesh Baghel is considered the front runner for the top post while party leaders T S Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charandas Mahant are also among the contenders.
The Congress won 68 of the 90 seats in the Assembly elections, ousting BJP from power after 15 years.
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