Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday passed a resolution asking party president Rahul Gandhi to take the final call on chief ministerial face, amid anticipations for the name of the top post candidate in the state. Being asked about the new chief minister of the state, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the process is ongoing and the party believes in the democratic process of knowing the view point of each and every elected legislator. Hence, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will take the final call once he knows the opinion of each legislator in the party. Kamal Nath and Congress stalwart Jyotiraditya Scindia were the front-runners for the chief minister's position.
The development came after the Congress on Tuesday emerged as the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh, managing a wafer-thin majority in Assembly elections 2018. While the Congress has bagged 114 seats in the state, the BJP, in a tantalising see-saw battle with the grand-old party managed to get 109 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party won two seats and the Samajwadi Party one. Independents bagged four seats.
Though Chouhan won from his traditional Budhni constituency with 1,23,492 votes, as many as 14 ministers from the previous BJP government lost their respective constituencies. Shivraj defeated former Union minister and senior Congress leader Arun Yadav in Budhni. While the BJP has been in the power since 2003, Chouhan has been ruling the state since 2005.
Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav have extended their supports to the Congress, as the Rahul Gandhi-led party was two short of the simple majority-mark - 116 seats, in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
The BSP president claimed that the electorate of Madhya Pradesh was upset with the policies of the BJP government in the state and, therefore, wanted to keep it out of power.
"That is why people preferred the Congress as a strong alternative. They voted for it with a heavy heart ... had it (Congress) followed B R Ambedkar and worked for the development of lower class, tribal and minorities, then there was no need to form this (BSP) party," Mayawati was quoted as saying by PTI.
Also, Akhilesh Yadav, welcomed the people's mandate in the state, saying, "we didn't perform well but we would like to thank the public of Madhya Pradesh for supporting us. We have decided to support Congress in Madhya Pradesh. BJP has spread hatred and deceived public, they will be given an answer in Lok Sabha elections".
Apart from these two regional parties, the Congress claimed to have support of the Independent candidates also, and, therefore, wrote to Governor Anandiben Patel, staking claim to form the government in Madhya Pradesh.
Speculations had been also rife that the BJP will meet Anandiben Patel to retain its power as the Congress did not touch the simple majority mark in the state. However, outgoing Chief Minister Chouhan later refuted such reports, saying that they would not stake claim to form government as they are losing the majority in the state.
On Tuesday night, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had declared victory in Madhya Pradesh, saying it was time for a change and that the party would take forward the development work. The Gandhi scion also said that the selection of chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will be done smoothly.
As a courtesy visit, Kamal Nath, the CM-elect in Madhya Pradesh also met former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at his residence in Bhopal. Congratulating the Congress for being the voter's choice in Madhya Pradesh, Chouhan extended his best wishes to Kamal Nath.
At a press conference in his Bhopal residence, Chouhan also accepted his responsibilities for the BJP's defeat and expressed hope that Congress president Rahul Gandhi will fulfil his promises to the people in Madhya Pradesh. Being in Opposition in Madhya Pradesh, Chouhan also assured to cooperate and provide constructive criticism to the new government in the state.
The election to 230-member Assembly was held in Madhya Pradesh on November 28 with a record 75 per cent of the state's 5.03 crore voters exercised their franchise. In 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 165 seats while the Congress got 58 followed by the BSP (4), and Independent candidates (3).