Congress to form govt in Hindi heartland; CM names remain suspense
Three-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot front-runner in Rajasthan while senior Congress leader Kamal Nath expected to be party's choice for chief minister's post in Madhya Pradesh; Bhupesh Baghel or TS Singh Deo in Chattisgarh
The Congress was poised on Wednesday to form governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, signalling a new-found energy in the party ranks and energising opposition efforts to stop the BJP juggernaut before general elections next year.
Belying predictions of exit polls, the Congress won convincingly in Chattisgarh, less so in Rajasthan, and scraped through with a wafer-thin lead in Madhya Pradesh. In Rajasthan, the contenders for the chief minister's post are Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, both of whom won huge victories in their constituencies. "We will take along all non-BJP parties and elected members who are against BJP and are willing to support us," Pilot told reporters before the Congress Legislative Party meeting.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi
The Congress emerged as the single-largest party in Rajasthan, winning 99 seats. In Chattisgarh, the contenders for the CM post are Lok Sabha member Tamradhwaj Sahu, state party chief Bhupesh Baghel and senior leader T S Singhdeo.
The Congress won 68 seats in the 90-member Assembly, far more than the 46 required to form the government. After a see-saw battle during vote count on Tuesday, Congress emerged as the single largest party in Madhya Pradesh with 114 seats. All eyes are now set on Rahul Gandhi for the names of the new chief ministers.
'Mahagatbandhan likely in UP'
The support extended by the SP and the BSP to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh has raised hopes of a grand alliance of anti-BJP parties in states like Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha election next year, analysts said.
Modi to address BJP MPs on Thursday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address BJP MPs Thursday and it will be followed by a seven-hour meeting of its key organisational leaders. The meetings come against the backdrop of Tuesday's state poll results which handed the party its biggest electoral setback since it stormed to power at the Centre in 2014.
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