Congress President Rahul Gandhi is expected to announce the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on Thursday. The newly-elected MLAs of all three states had conducted meetings on Wednesday but decided to let the Congress chief select the chief ministers.
The Congress emerged the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the recently held Assembly elections. Final results from the Election Commission of India were available only on Wednesday morning, nearly 24 hours after counting of votes began.
The Congress won 114 seats in Madhya Pradesh while the three-term government of the Bharatiya Janata Party won 109 seats – both short of the half-way mark of 116. In Rajasthan, the Congress won 99 seats out of 199. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have offered support to the Congress in both states.
This is how the day unfolded:
10.55 pm: Senior Congress leader and observer for Chhattisgarh, Mallikarjuna Kharge, says it has been “unanimously decided” that Rahul Gandhi will pick the head of the legislature party.
10.53 pm: “We’ll start process of loan waiver, process of creating new employment opportunities and reconstruction of these states in accordance with people’s will,” Surjewala adds.
10.52 pm: The process of selecting chief ministers for the three states is on, says Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. “Congress party believes in the democratic process of knowing the view point of each elected legislator,” he tells ANI. “Senior leaders AK Antony, Mallikarjuna Kharge, KC Venugopal along with general secretary incharges have gone to their respective states.”
Once they find out the opinion of each legislator, a decision will be taken, he says, adding that Rahul Gandhi wants to “go by choice of legislators” despite “universal resolution leaving the choice to Congress president”.
9.40 pm: All India Congress Committee General Secretary Avinash Pande says Rahul Gandhi will pick the chief minister of Rajasthan on Thursday, PTI reports.
8.17 pm: Congress observer for Chhattisgarh Mallikarjuna Kharge reaches Raipur for the legislature party meeting, which is expected to discuss the next chief minister. Congress Lok Sabha MP Tamradhwaj Sahu, state party chief Bhupesh Baghel and senior party leader TS Singh Deo are the frontrunners.
The Congress won 68 seats in the state, well above the majority mark of 46. It swept aside the BJP government which had been in power for 15 years.
8.15 pm: Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha says the Bharatiya Janata Party has become a party of the dead. “There will not be any change in the leadership [of the BJP] because everybody is scared,” he says, according to PTI. “Some people in the BJP would often criticise the Congress and dub it as ‘murdo ki party’, but today the BJP has become ‘murdo ki party’...Only two people hold all the power in the party,” he says, in apparent reference to BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
8.13 pm: Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar rejects reports about voters’ names missing from the electoral list for the December 7 Assembly elections, according to PTI. “There was lot of scrutiny.. We have conducted three to four meetings with all political parties on this particular issue. All the complaints related to this were duly inquired,” Kumar says. “So it is not correct to say that large number of voters are missing.”
7.33 pm: Senior Congress leaders, including Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot reach the Governor’s House in Rajasthan’s Jaipur. They are expected to stake claim to form the government in the state.
Assembly election results declared on Tuesday showed the Congress had won 99 seats in the 200-member House and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party got 73 seats. The Rashtriya Lok Dal and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party have offered support to the Congress to help the party cross the majority mark. Election for one constituency is yet to be held.
7.29 pm: The single-line proposal passed by newly-elected Madhya Pradesh MLAs earlier in the day asked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to nominate the new leader of the legislature party. “The resolution was moved by senior MLA Arif Aqueel and seconded by other MLAs,” the chairperson of the state Congress’ media cell, Shobha Oza says, according to PTI. “They passed it unanimously, authorising the Congress president to nominate the legislature party leader.”
Senior Congress leaders AK Antony and Bhanwar Jitendra Singh were the central observers during the two-hour meeting.
6.57 pm: Visuals from the Congress office in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, which is decked up following the results of the Assembly elections.
The Congress won 68 seats, well above the majority mark of 46, dethroning the BJP government which had been in power for 15 years. The BJP managed to win only 15 seats. But the party has not yet decided its chief minister. The frontrunners for the post are Congress Lok Sabha MP Tamradhwaj Sahu, state party chief Bhupesh Baghel and senior party leader TS Singh Deo.
6.53 pm: Congress leader Shobha Oza says all the newly-elected MLAs have decided that Congress President Rahul Gandhi will decide the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI.
6.03 pm: A single-line proposal has been passed at the Madhya Pradesh Congress Legislature Party meeting in Bhopal, reports ANI. The Congress high command is expected to decide the state’s next chief minister. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath are the probable candidates.
3.53 pm: Senior Congress leader AK Antony arrives in Bhopal. Antony is the AICC’s observer and will take part in the legislators’ meeting.
3.40 pm: K Chandrasekhar Rao will take oath as chief minister of Telangana at 1.30 pm on Thursday, reports News 18.
3.30 pm: “I take full responsibility for BJP’s defeat [in the state],” says Chouhan. He says he hopes the Congress continue the “vikas [development] drive”.
3.28 pm: “I worked tirelessly for the poor and farmers,” says Chouhan at a press conference. “I apologise if I upset the people of Madhya Pradesh.”
3.25 pm: Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says he has worked for the development of the state. “I considered the people of Madhya Pradesh a part of my family.”
3.23 pm: Singh says he hopes the Congress will take forward the work done by the previous government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, reports News 18.
3.18 pm: BJP state unit chief Rakesh Singh says neither his party nor the Congress got the required votes in Madhya Pradesh, reports News 18. “The party thanks all party workers,” says Singh, adding that the results were not as expected.
“We accept the public’s mandate,” says Singh.
3.16 pm: A Congress delegation will meet the Rajasthan governor at 7 pm to stake claim to form the government in the state, reports PTI.
2.57 pm: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav says the BJP has “spread hatred and deceived public”, reports ANI. “They [BJP] will be given an answer in Lok Sabha elections.”
2.31 pm: The Congress Legislature Party passes a resolution authorising party president Rahul Gandhi to decide the chief minister of Rajasthan, reports The Indian Express. The meeting is still under way in Jaipur.
State Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are probable candidates.
2.17 pm: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia says he is “willing to take up the responsibility of chief minister” of Madhya Pradesh, reports News 18. “...it will be a privilege if I get the opportunity.’
1.28 pm: Congress leader Kamal Nath describes outgoing Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as a friend and says his opponent fought a good election.
1.08 pm: Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader KT Rama Rao, son of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, says the party is keen on a federal front, ANI reports. “A non-Congress and non-BJP force is emerging from Telangana,” he says. “Strong regional voices need to be heard.”
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi swept the Assembly polls in the southern Telugu state, winning 88 of the 119 seats.
12.52 pm: Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja says the party has the support of 122 MLAs – the majority mark in the state Assembly is 116.
“We have met the governor and staked claim to form the government,” he says. “We have the support of 122 MLAs, the situation is clear.”
12.32 pm: Several newly-elected Assembly members have expressed support for Ashok Gehlot as Rajasthan chief minister, according to the Hindustan Times. Manju Meghwal, Laxman Meena, Vinod Kumar Lilawat, Shanti Dhariwal, Manju Panwar, Ameen Kagzi and rebels Ramkesh Meena, Kanti Lal Meena and Babulal Nagar met Gehlot in the morning.
Independent MLAs Kanti Lal and Ramkesh Meena said they will support the Congress on the condition that Gehlot gets the top job.
12.23 pm: A Congress delegation has arrived at the Madhya Pradesh Raj Bhawan in Bhopal to stake claim to form the government, according to the Republic. Governor Anandiben Patel had invited party leaders to hold talks at noon.
Senior leaders Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, among others, will meet Patel.
12.21 pm: “I’m very happy with the win,” former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi tells News18. “It is a win against the BJP’s negative politics.”
12.20 pm: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says the BJP’s arrogance led to its loss. “People will forgive you if you have not done work but people don’t forgive arrogance,” says the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
12.13 pm: The Chhattisgarh Congress will hold a legislature party meeting in Raipur at 8 pm today to decide the next chief minister. Congress Lok Sabha MP Tamradhwaj Sahu, state party chief Bhupesh Baghel and senior party leader TS Singh Deo are the frontrunners.
The Congress won 68 seats in the state, well above the majority mark of 46. It swept aside the BJP government which had been in power for 15 years.
12.08 pm: The name of the Rajasthan chief minister will be announced in the evening after party observer KC Venugopal apprises Rahul Gandhi. A Congress delegation will then meet Governor Kalyan Singh to stake claim to form the government.
“We have full majority and will stake claim to form the government in the evening,” says Pilot. “We will take along all non-BJP parties and elected members who are against the BJP and are willing to support us.”
12.07 pm: The Congress Legislature Party has started at the party’s headquarters in Jaipur, PTI reports. All India Congress Committee General Secretary Avinash Pande and observer KC Venugopal will seek MLAs’ individual opinions on the next Rajasthan chief minister.
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are the two probable candidates. Both are attending the meeting.
12.02 pm: Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar says the Congress has played a key role in giving people an alternative to the BJP and has been receptive towards smaller parties, ANI reports.
“The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party should be a part of our alliance. They aren’t yet with us,” he says. “People have expressed displeasure on the four-and-a-half years of BJP rule.”
Both the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had skipped the Opposition party meet in Delhi on Monday. However, both parties have agreed to lend the Congress support in Madhya Pradesh.
12 pm: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia says the party’s motive in Madhya Pradesh was to dethrone Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
“What he has witnessed is the verdict of the people,” says Scindia. “We will work for the people and our only motive was to remove Shivraj Singh.”
11.55 am: The Assembly election results show that the BJP is losing popularity, says actor and politician Rajinikanth. “The BJP’s defeat will be a big setback for them,” he says.
11.53 am: Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel has invited the Congress to hold talks at Raj Bhawan in Bhopal at noon, PTI reports.
The Governor House had earlier said that it would give the party an appointment only after the final results are declared.
11.44 am: With Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav’s support, the Congress will have 117 seats. The half-way mark in Madhya Pradesh is 116.
11.41 am: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav says he will also support the Congress in Madhya Pradesh. The party has one seat in the state.
11.40 am: Shivraj Singh Chouhan says he has resigned as chief minister. “Now, I am free”, ANI quotes him as saying. “The responsibility of defeat is totally mine. I have congratulated Kamal ji.”
11.30 am: The Congress is expected to meet the Madhya Pradesh governor soon to stake claim to form government, reports News18.
11.10 am: Incumbent Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan says he will not stake claim to form the government as the BJP did not get a majority, reports ANI. “I am going to tender my resignation to the governor.”
10.45 am: Mayawati tells ANI she will support the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, and “if need be” in Rajasthan.
10.38 am: BSP chief Mayawati blames the poll results against the BJP in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on the party’s “anti-people policies”, ANI reports. She says people chose Congress due to a lack of other alternatives. “Our aim is to keep BJP out of power”.
10.30 am: According to media reports, veteran Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot stands a better chance of becoming the next CM in Rajasthan than Sachin Pilot.
10.24 am: Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrasekhar Rao is expected to take oath as Telangana chief minister on Thursday, reports Times Now.
10.19 am: Chhattisgarh Congress leaders will elect their chief minister at 8 pm on Wednesday, reports Times Now. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who has been appointed observer for Chhattisgarh, will arrive in Raipur at 7 pm and hold the meeting, The Indian Express reported. Kharge and senior Chhattisgarh leaders will then meet Rahul Gandhi on Thursday.
10.10 am: BJP leaders are meeting at incumbent Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence in Bhopal. Kailash Vijayvargiya, Rakesh Singh, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Narendra Singh Tomar are present, ANI reports.
10.05 am: Here is a look at the seat break-up in Madhya Pradesh after counting of votes concluded Wednesday morning.
10 am: Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath says that all four Independent MLAs are with the party in Madhya Pradesh and he is holding discussions with them, News18 reports. Nath says that the party will soon announce the chief minister.
9.55 am: Independent candidate Ramkesh Meena, who won from Gangapur constituency, says picking Ashok Gehlot for the post of Rajasthan chief minister would be the right decision, ANI reports.
“Our demand is that the Congress leadership takes the decision keeping in mind the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the right decision will be to make Ashok Gehlot the chief minister,” says the Congress rebel.
9.50 am: Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Jayant Chaudhary says the party will extend support to the Congress in Rajasthan, ANI reports. Party candidate Subhash Garg won from Bharatpur constituency, beating the BJP’s Vijay Bansal.
“I am happy that the public has given a clear mandate in Rajasthan. For a stable government, our MLA will extend support to the Congress,” says Chaudhary. “The BJP ran a negative campaign, the Uttar Pradesh CM [Adityanath] came and talked of Ali and Bajrangbali instead of the issues of farmers.”
9.30 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi had earlier said that the selection of chief ministers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh would be done smoothly. The party has not declared its chief ministerial candidate in the three states.
9.20 am: Congress candidate Shashank Bhargava, who won from Vidisha, says the BJP did not work for the electorate, ANI reports. “For 46 years, the BJP cheated the people of Vidisha and took votes by influencing them emotionally, but they [BJP] didn’t do any work,” he says. “I thank the people of Vidisha for defeating and sending back PM [Narendra Modi].”
9.15 am: The Congress fell just two seats short of the majority mark in Madhya Pradesh, results for which were declared almost a day after counting of votes began in five states. The party won 114 seats in the 230-member Assembly, while the ruling BJP won 109.
8.30 am: Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath earlier said that his party won a clear majority in Madhya Pradesh and that they have written to Governor Anandiben Patel to invite the party to prove majority, according to ANI. The Governor House said an appointment will be given only after the Election Commission declares the final results.
8.15 am: While the Congress on Tuesday won in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, counting of votes is still on in Madhya Pradesh. The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi government won by a huge majority in Telangana, beating the Congress-led alliance, with caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s party winning 88 seats out of the 119.
In Mizoram, however, the three-time Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla lost both seats that he contested. The ruling Congress lost to the Mizo National Front, which won 26 of the state’s 40 seats. The Congress won just five.