Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath will be the next chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, the party announced late on Thursday. The announcement came after a day of meetings between Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and the two contenders for the post in New Delhi. Jyotiraditya Scindia was the other front-runner.
Gandhi also met the contenders for the Rajasthan chief minister’s post – Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot – but a decision is expected on Friday. He is likely to meet the contenders for the Chhattisgarh chief minister’s post on Friday.
The Congress defeated the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party in the three states. The newly-elected MLAs of all three states had held meetings on Wednesday, but had decided to let Gandhi pick the chief ministers.
11.20 pm: Congress’ Twitter handle has congratulated Kamal Nath for becoming the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
11.05 pm: A meeting of the Congress legislature party is going on.
10.48 pm: Kamal Nath has arrived at the Congress party office in Bhopal.
10.28 pm: Rahul Gandhi has deferred the decisions on chief ministers of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for Friday as he wants to hold further discussions with party leaders, unidentified people in the Congress have told PTI. An announcement for Madhya Pradesh is expected soon.
10.21 pm: Rahul Gandhi will meet Bhupesh Baghel and TS Deo, the main contenders for the chief minister’s post in Chhattisgarh, on Friday in New Delhi, reports PTI.
10.11 pm: Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia have reached the Bhopal airport, reports NDTV. A final announcement is likely soon.
8.18 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweets a picture with Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath, with a quote attributed to Leo Tolstoy: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
8.15 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath leave Rahul Gandhi’s residence for Bhopal. Scindia tells reporters the decision will be announced on Thursday. “It is not a race, it is not about kursi [chair], we are here to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh,” he says. Nath says the name of the chief minister will be announced after a meeting of MLAs, reports ANI.
7.00 pm: Ashok Gehlot says the decision on the chief ministers will be taken soon. “There is nothing to worry,” says Gehlot. “Just wait, the decision has to be taken on CMs of three states, so naturally, it takes time. Party president will take a call.”
6.24 pm: Rahul Gandhi says the party leadership is taking inputs from legislators and workers about the chief ministers. “We are getting a comprehensive answer to what the Congress party and others feel... of course you have to see a chief minister soon,” Gandhi says, according to NDTV.
6.06 pm: As the party is yet to announce the chief ministers for the three states, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah says, “It will get more and more difficult the longer this takes.”
6.05 pm: Sachin Pilot asks party workers to maintain peace and decorum. “I have full faith in the leadership, we will welcome whatever Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi decide,” Pilot says on Twitter. “It is our responsibility to uphold the honour of the party, we are dedicated to the party.”
5.02 pm: Supporters of CM aspirants Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo clash outside Baghel’s house in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, reports The Indian Express.
4.42 pm: Supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia gather outside the party office in Bhopal, reports ANI. A poster congratulating Kamal Nath for being named the chief minister has been put up outside the Congress office in Bhopal.
4.37 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi arrives at his residence in Delhi for a meeting with senior party leaders, reports The Indian Express.
4.27 pm: Congress observer for Madhya Pradesh AK Antony arrives at Rahul Gandhi’s house, reports The Indian Express.
4.16 pm: Security has been intensified in Jaipur ahead of the announcement of the next chief minister of Rajasthan, reports PTI. Supporters of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee President Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot have been gathering near the houses of the two leaders since morning.
4 pm: UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi arrives at the residence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, reports ANI. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi will be discussing the choices for the post of chief minister in the three states, reports NDTV.
3.57 pm: Mallikarjun Kharge, who is the Congress’s observer for Chhattisgarh, will meet Rahul Gandhi at 5 pm, reports The Indian Express.
3.55 pm: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh says the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh will be announced at 5.30 pm, reports News 18.
3.46 pm: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia reaches Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi, reports News 18. Scindia is seen as a contender for the chief minister’s post in Madhya Pradesh. Gandhi is expected to announce a name for the post by today evening.
3.43 pm: BJP office bearers meeting is under way in Delhi, reports ANI. Party leaders are expected to plan the agenda for the Lok Sabha elections during the meeting.
3.32 pm: Outgoing Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says he will not move to the Centre. “I’ll live in Madhya Pradesh and die in Madhya Pradesh,” ANI quotes him as saying.
3.28 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi is likely to meet contenders for the Chhattisgarh chief minister’s post in the evening. Bhupesh Baghel, TS Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu are the probable candidates, reports PTI.
2.23 pm: Party officials say Congress President Rahul Gandhi held one-on-one meetings with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Delhi to take a call on who would head Rajasthan, reports PTI.
2.18 pm: Preparations begin at the Raj Bhawan in Jaipur ahead of the announcement of the next chief minister, reports The Indian Express. The Congress is expected to announce the Rajasthan chief minister’s name around 4.30 pm.
Senior Rajasthan leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are the front runners for the post.
2.09 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan congratulate K Chandrasekhar Rao and his new government.
1.47 pm: Reports suggest that Ashok Gehlot will be named Rajasthan chief minister.
1.45 pm: The Congress Legislature Party will meet at 5 pm in Bhopal, reports News 18. Kamal Nath is likely to be named chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
1.29 pm: K Chandrasekhar Rao takes oath as chief minister of Telangana for the second consecutive term, reports ANI. Governor ESL Narasimhan administered the oath. Mahmud Ali, who served as the deputy chief minister in the previous term, was also sworn in.
1.18 pm: Ashok Gehlot leaves for Jaipur after meeting Rahul Gandhi. The party is expected to announce the Rajasthan chief minister’s name by today evening.
12.52 pm: The Shiv Sena says that the BJP managed to lose the elections even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief Amit Shah and party workers campaigned relentlessly and called for a “Congress-free” country, PTI reports.
“However, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has beaten them in their own turf,” says the Sena in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana. “This is the defeat of injustice and lies. Pride has been captured and ego crushed.”
12.50 pm: Mizoram Congress spokesperson Lallianchhunga says the party will hold a brainstorming session to look into the reasons behind its loss in the state, PTI reports. All candidates will be asked to attend the meet, he says.
The ruling Congress won just five seats and finished third in the state, behind the Mizo National Front and the Zoram People’s Movement.
12.45 pm: Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Shobha Oza says there are no divisions within the party regarding the chief minister decision. “From day one, all our leaders made it clear that the fight isn’t about who will become the chief minister, our fight was to uproot the corrupt government of BJP in Madhya Pradesh,” she says.
12.40 pm: Kamal Nath is expected to return to Bhopal by 4 pm, with the state Congress unit expecting observers to announce him as the chief minister later in the evening.
12.30 pm: Rahul Gandhi will decide on the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by evening today, News18 reports. Senior Rajasthan leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot have been called for a meeting after the AICC observers submitted their report.
11.58 am: Another Independent MLA bats for Ashok Gehlot as chief minister. “The public of Rajasthan wants Ashok Gehlot as the chief minister. I also have the same wishes,” says Mahadev Singh Khandela, who won from Khandela constituency. “And I think the high command will also take the same decision.”
11.55 am: Rajasthan Independent MLA Rajkumar Gaur says Ashok Gehlot has already served as chief minister on two occasions and has the experience. “The public of and the Independent MLAs want him to be appointed as the chief minister,” says Gaur, who won from Sriganganagar.
11.45 am: Akali Dal’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa warns Rahul Gandhi against appointing Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh chief minister and criticises his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, News18 reports. Sirsa claims the Congress will face a backlash if it goes ahead with the decision.
11.30 am: BJP President Amit Shah will meet senior leaders on Thursday to discuss the party’s defeats, the Hindustan Times reported. State presidents and those in charge of the states will be present at the meeting, which will also plan the agenda for the Lok Sabha elections.
The party is also expected to hold a meeting of its national council in Delhi next month to discuss the upcoming elections.
11.20 am: Senior Chhattisgarh Congress leader TS Singh Deo says he cannot make public the conclusion of a confidential discussion among party members. He is in the race to be the next Chhattisgarh chief minister.
“MLAs are given the right that they can express their individual opinions, nothing will be disclosed for now,” says Deo. “The decision on CM candidate should be taken by today.”
11.15 am: Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekhar Rao will take oath as the chief minister exactly at 1.25 pm today as it is an auspicious moment according to his astrologers, News18 reports. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Raj Bhavan.
Rao’s party won 88 seats in the 119-member assembly.
11.02 am: Rajasthan observer KC Venugopal and Avinash Pande arrive at Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi and will hold discussions, News18 reports.
11 am: Madhya Pradesh Congress state chief Kamal Nath has said that the Congress will focus on improving the state’s fiscal health and exposing the prime minister for his policies such as the Goods and Services Tax regime and demonetisation.
“I am worried about the fiscal health of Madhya Pradesh and we will have to do some innovative out-of-the box thinking on how resources can be raised for the state,” said Nath, a probable chief ministerial candidate. “We will have to do something new since there has been such a drain on resources.”
10.55 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Wednesday claimed that the Congress won elections in the three states through deceit. “The Congress’ lies will start unravelling soon, and that will make our future battles even easier,” he said.
Adityanath had campaigned extensively for the BJP in four of the five states that went to the polls.
10.50 am: Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday described the BJP as a “party of the dead”. “There will not be any change in the leadership because everybody is scared...Some people in the BJP would often criticise the Congress and dub it as ‘murdo ki party’ [party of the dead], but today the BJP has become ‘murdo ki party’,” he said.
10.45 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says the party in taking inputs from several MLAs and workers. “You will see a chief minister soon,” he says.
Gandhi had sent out a pre-recorded audio message on an internal messaging platform for party workers and had sought their feedback in selecting the chief ministers.
10.40 am: Chhattisgarh observer Mallikarjun Kharge says all MLAs have unanimously authorised Rahul Gandhi to select who will head the Congress Legislative Party in the state. “Whatever decision he takes, the MLAs are ready to accept,” Kharge says.
10.38 am: BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit chief Rakesh Singh has taken responsibility for the party’s defeat in the state and has offered to resign, ANI reports. But party chief Amit Shah refused to accept the resignation, asking Singh to “work hard”.
10.35 am: The potential chief ministerial candidates in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh arrived in New Delhi on Thursday morning to meet Rahul Gandhi, PTI reports. The Congress president will first meet party observers AK Antony for Madhya Pradesh and KC Venugopal for Rajasthan before meeting those in the race for CM.
10.30 am: The Congress on Wednesday had said party chief Rahul Gandhi will pick chief ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The party had won the Assembly elections in the three states, results of which were announced on Tuesday. The counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh closed on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after it began.