Kamal Nath at MP helm; CM knot in Rajasthan

Kamal Nath at MP helm; CM knot in Rajasthan

Congress President Rahul Gandhi flanked by Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia (L) and Kamal Nath after a meeting in New Delhi on December 13. PTI

A day after victory celebrations, the mood turned sour in the Congress on Thursday with chasm between veterans and generation-next leaders coming to the fore, particularly in Rajasthan, where deadlock persisted over the next chief minister even after a series of meetings by the party chief.

Visuals of party workers burning tyres in Rajasthan seeking Sachin Pilot as chief minister haunted the Congress as it planned a big bash after registering big wins in the Hindi heartland.

Rahul asked veteran leader Ashok Gehlot, a frontrunner for chief minister's post in Rajasthan, and his rival Sachin Pilot to stay put in Delhi as their supporters locked horns in Jaipur. The Congress president also met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

In Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath was elected chief minister at a meeting of the newly-elected Congress Legislature Party in Bhopal late Thursday night. Earlier, Rahul had cleared his name after discussions with Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was also a contender for the post.

Rahul also had meetings with A K Antony, who was sent as a central observer to Bhopal, and AICC General Secretary Deepak Babariya, who is in-charge of party affairs in the state.

After the late-evening meeting with Nath and Scindia, Rahul put out a cryptic tweet: “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy.” He tagged the tweet with a photograph showing him hand-in-hand with Nath and Scindia.

“It is not a race, it is not about kursi (chair), we are here to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh,” Scindia told reporters in Delhi. Soon after, Nath, Scindia, Antony, Babariya and senior leader Jitendra Singh flew to Bhopal for CLP meeting.

Kamal Nath is expected to take oath of office on Friday.

The Rajasthan decision appeared to be taking more time with state unit chief Pilot understood to be digging in his heels against a strong claim from two-term chief minister Gehlot. Supporters of Gehlot and Pilot descended on the AICC headquarters here and indulged in sloganeering. A group of Pilot supporters also trooped into the Congress president's official residence about 2 km away, angering the Rajasthan Congress president.

AICC General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge met Rahul to decide on Chhattisgarh CM. Kharge said a decision has been put off till Wednesday.

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