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Signs Favour Kamal Nath As Madhya Pradesh Choice Is Left To Rahul Gandhi

BHOPAL:  Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will have to take a call on the knotty question of who will get the top job in Madhya Pradesh — his close aide Jyotiraditya Scindia or party veteran Kamal Nath. Both the leaders have left Bhopal for Delhi where they will meet Rahul Gandhi on Thursday. There are indications that the decision might be in favour of Mr Nath, who steered the faction-ridden party that bested the BJP in a close fought contest in the heartland state. The counting, marked by see-saw leads, went on overnight. The party, which is two short of majority in the 230-member assembly, has closed the gap with help from Mayawati, who announced her support this morning.
Here are the Top Ten Points in this big political story:
  1.  TheCongress had not announced any Chief Ministerial candidate in the run-up to the elections.This morning, Rahul Gandhi had dispatched party veteran AK Antony to test the waters. At a meeting in the evening, the state legislature party passed a one-line resolution, declaring that Mr Gandhi should be the one to pick a name.
  2. “After a meeting with Congress’ newly appointed lawmakers, we have decided that the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh will be chosen by the high command of the party. Whatever they decide, we will happily accept it,” tweeted Jyotiraditya Scindia.
  3. Mr Gandhi has reached out to party workers in Madhya Pradesh, as well as Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, asking them in an audio message to indicate their choice. The data, party sources said, will help decide whom the respondents from each state want and already, very clear preferences are emerging from each state.
  4. The Congress’s top trio — Mr Nath, Mr Scindia and Digvijaya Singh met Governor Anandiben Patel around noon. In the evening senior leaders of the party officially staked claim to form government.
  5. Last night, Mr Nath wrote to the Governor even before the counting ended, claiming majority and requesting an appointment.But after a sleepless night, the Congress ended with 114 seats — two short of majority, but ending the BJP’s dream run in the state.
  6. Mayawati’s support was the game-changer for the Congress after its struggle to reach the target. Her Bahujan Samaj Party won two seats in the state. Samajwadi Party chief of Akhilesh Yadav, who won one seat, also announced support for the Congress.
  7. At 2.45 am, Kamal Nath had told reporters that the party will get absolute majority. But earlier in the day, he had also reached out to Mayawati, who had snubbed the Congress during alliance talks before the polls.
  8. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who stepped down this afternoon, said the BJP would not stake claim to form government. With 109 seats, the party had indicated last night that it may also meet the Governor for a shot at power. “We did not win a majority so will not stake claim,” said Mr Chouhan, who ruled the state for three straight terms.
  9. The BJP, which ruled Madhya Pradesh for 15 years, trumped the Congress in vote share by a slender margin. The party received 41 per cent of the total votes polled, while the Congress got 40.9 per cent.
  10. The BJP fared badly in Mandsaur, the epicentre of farmer protests last year, from where Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched his election campaign. The party is seen to have lost out in rural areas and in reserved constituencies.

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