Congress CM-designates Kamal Nath, Bhupesh Baghel and Ashok Gehlot will take the oath for top posts in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan respectively on Monday (December 17) after days of meetings and discussions between senior leadership.
While past few days have been tiring for senior Congress members, their President Rahul Gandhi upheld accord between key contenders in all three states, albeit a few initial hiccups in Rajasthan.
Leaders from Gandhi’s party have deemed assembly election outcomes as a victory for citizens in these states including Hindi heartland Madhya Pradesh, where Kamal Nath will take oath today to end BJP’s 15-year dominance.
In Rajasthan, Congress has selected senior leader Ashok Gehlot as its CM-designate while Sachin Pilot will be deputy CM. Meanwhile, senior leader Bhupesh Baghel got a green signal from Congress to take oath in Chhattisgarh.
Gehlot ready to steer Rajasthan
Congress veteran leader Gehlot was chosen as Rajasthan CM-designate on December 15 after a fierce round of debates between senior leadership – some of whom were rooting for Sachin Pilot as next CM.
It will be his third stint as chief minister. Both Gehlot and Sachin Pilot will be sworn in as CM and deputy CM respectively. The 67-year-old earlier blamed former CM Vasundhara Raje for being “careless” in fulfilling people’s expectations despite getting a huge mandate last time.
“What is the financial condition of the state is known by all. The BJP got a huge mandate in the last elections and people had expectations from Raje, but she was careless,” Gehlot told news agency PTI.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Albert Hall at 10 am. Senior Congress leadership along with Rahul Gandhi will be present along with many other leaders who have been invited by the party.
The party won 99 out of 199 seats in Rajasthan, emerging as the single largest party in the state to oust BJP’s Vasundhara Raje.
Kamal ousts BJP in MP
Congress opted for Kamal Nath to lead Madhya Pradesh where farmer agitation ended Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s 15-year-old monopoly. At 1.30 pm, Nath will take the oath of office in presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other senior UPA leaders at Jamboree Maidan.
Leading up to the elections, Nath along with Jyotiraditya Scindia evolved as key leaders, responsible for steering fierce campaigns against the BJP leadership. However, the 72-year-old was chosen due to his experience and efficient administration skills.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy will attend the oath-taking ceremony while DMK leaders MK Stalin and MK Kanimozhi are scheduled to attend.
In an earlier exclusive interview to India Today TV, the MP CM-designate said he was not hungry for the post but to drive Congress to power in the Hindi heartland.
Nath has also promised to first cater to farmer issues in the state through waivers and other mechanisms. The nine-time Lok Sabha MP from Chhindwara also thanked senior leaders including Scindia for their contribution.
It remains to be seen if Nath’s administration can put an end to the agrarian crisis in the central state. A nail-biting finish in Madhya Pradesh finally culminated in a Congress victory as it won 114 seats in the 230-member assembly and secured the support of MLAs from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and four independents.
Baghel in Chhattisgarh
In Chhattisgarh, too, Congress CM-designate Bhupesh Baghel will end a 15-year drought for the party as he takes the oath. 57-year-old Baghel has been overseeing the party’s operations in the BJP-dominated state for the past four years.
He will be the second-ever Congress chief minister in the state after Ajit Jogi bagged the position as Congress candidate way back in 2000.
Baghel, who initially began his political career by joining Indian Youth Congress in 1986, has evolved into a key figure for the Congress state faction.
He is all set to take oath at 5 pm as next chief minister of Chhattisgarh in the presence of Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
It was a blistering performance by Congress in Chhattisgarh as it raced away to register wins in 68 out of 90 seats.
Many expect Congress to use all three oath-taking ceremonies to show off opposition unity ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
News credit : indiatoday