Kamal Nath next MP chief minister;Rajasthan and chhattisgarh expected today

Kamal Nath next MP chief minister;Rajasthan and chhattisgarh expected today

Courtesy : Nationalist Bureau14/12/2018 18:19

 After two days of deliberations, endless meetings, and significant jockeying by the supporters of chief ministerial aspirants, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, after consulting various leaders including United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and looking at the choice of every booth-level party worker in the states concerned, picked Kamal Nath, 72, as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

For Rajasthan, he was also expected to pick Ashok Gehlot, 67, or Sachin Pilot, 41. He was in a late-night meeting with Gehlot, immediately after meeting Pilot, at the time of going to print at 12:10am. For Chhattisgarh, the decision on the next chief minister is likely to be made on Friday.

The Congress won a landslide in Chhattisgarh, clearly won Rajasthan, and edged out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the elected legislators of all three states passed resolutions asking Gandhi to pick their CMs. There were two aspirants in Madhya Pradesh, Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia; two in Rajasthan, Gehlot and Pilot; and three in Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, TS Singhdeo, and Tamradhwaj Sahu.

Even as the candidates themselves chose to play it cool, their supporters expressed themselves, with Pilot’s backers blocking roads in Bharatpur and Karauli in protest.

Although some critics blamed the Congress party and Gandhi for “indecisiveness” in choosing the chief ministers of the three states, the delay in such a process isn’t anything new.

 In October 2014, the BJP took nine days after the results of the Maharashtra elections were announced to pick Devendra Fadnavis as its chief minister. In March 2017, it took the BJP eight days after the Uttar Pradesh election results to pick Yogi Adityanath.

Hours before the announcement of the Madhya Pradesh CM, Gandhi tweeted a photo with Nath and Scindia at his residence in New Delhi. Along with the photo, the Congress president posted a fitting quote by Russian philosopher and writer Leo Tolstoy: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

After Gandhi’s tweet, Scindia posted the same photo and said: “It is not a race, it is not about kursi, we are here to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh. I am leaving for Bhopal and you will get to know the decision today.

Late on Thursday, the Congress’s Twitter handle congratulated Nath on being picked as the CM of the state that has a 230-member assembly. “Our best wishes to Shri @OfficeOfKNath for being elected CM of Madhya Pradesh. An era of change is upon MP with him at the helm,” the party handle said. Local television channels reported Nath would take oath on Monday.

Pilot and Gehlot, who first met Gandhi in the afternoon as the party deliberated on the next Rajasthan CM, appealed to their supporters to maintain calm as the party leadership discussed the matter. “Friends, I appeal to all workers to maintain peace and discipline in the state. I have full faith in the party leadership. Whatever decision Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi will take in the interest of the state we will welcome that. We all are dedicated and sincere workers of the Congress and hence it is our responsibility to maintain its dignity,” Pilot wrote in a Twitter message after the protests. Gehlot said the workers put in a lot of effort and should wait for Gandhi’s decisions.

On Wednesday morning, the four candidates reached Delhi to meet Gandhi, who also discussed the matter with Sonia Gandhi and a few other senior leaders. He also looked at the preferences of all booth-level workers in the three states, collated through Shakti, the party’s new network connecting the Congress headquarters to workers.

Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also seen going inside her brother’s residence as consultations over the CM picks in the three states were underway.

But the MP announcement didn’t come immediately, perhaps in keeping with the protocol that a chief ministerial choice is best announced by the legislators. Meetings of legislators and the candidates of the three states were held in the respective state capitals. About 48 hours after the results, the Congress had chief ministers-designate in the heartland state of MP. After the announcement, Nath said: “This post is a milestone for me... I thank Jyotiraditya Scindia who supported me.”

“The time ahead will be challenging and we will fulfil the promises together.”

Experts said the important thing now for Scindia is to work to ensure the party does well in the 2019 general elections.

The choice of Nath was seen to be controversial in some quarters because of his alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that erupted in New Delhi following then PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination by two Sikh bodyguards.

The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party (in the opposition in Punjab) both highlighted the allegation. SAD and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) threatened to quit in the run-up to the assembly elections in his state in 2016 when Nath was made the party’s general secretary (Punjab and Haryana). He quit soon after, but said it was to avoid an “unnecessary controversy” and there was no wrong doing on his part.

Nath has in the past denied the allegations made against him

 

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