Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigned on Wednesday after the Congress emerged the single largest party in the Assembly elections with 114 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which ruled the state for 15 years, won 109 seats. The half-way mark in the state is 116.
Chouhan said he was responsible for the party’s defeat, reported News 18. “I worked tirelessly for the poor and farmers,” Chouhan said at a press conference on Wednesday. “I apologise if I upset the people of Madhya Pradesh.”
Chouhan said the BJP, which has 109 MLAs, will be a strong Opposition. “My job is to provide constructive support, we now have the responsibility to be the watchdog.”
The former chief minister said the central government supported the state government and both governments implemented several pro-people schemes, reported The Indian Express. “If despite that we lost it means the blame goes to me,” Chouhan said.
Chouhan said he hoped the new government in the state would take forward the welfare schemes initiated under his government, while also reminding the Congress of its promise to waive farm loans within 10 days of coming to power. He also recalled Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s warning that he would remove the chief minister if farm loans are not waived within the deadline.
The Election Commission declared the final results on Wednesday, almost 24 hours after the counting of votes began for the 230-seat Assembly.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav announced their support for the Congress. The Bahujan Samaj has two seats, the Samajwadi Party one and the Independents four seats.
Besides Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has won a clear majority in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. In Rajasthan, the Congress finished just two short of the majority mark – at 99 – in the swing state, with the BJP winning 73 seats. In Chhattisgarh, the Congress won 68 seats and the saffron party 15.
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said the party has won a clear majority and they have written to Governor Anandiben Patel, asking her to invite them to prove majority.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the selection of chief ministers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will be done smoothly. The Congress has not declared its chief ministerial candidate in these states.
While in Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia are vying for the position, in Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are in the running. In Chhattisgarh, reports say the top contenders for chief minister are TS Singh Deo, Bhupesh Baghel and Other Backward Classes leader Tamradhwaj Sahu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said accepted the “people’s mandate with humility” and thanked voters in the the five states that went to the polls.