Bhopal: Congress leader Kamal Nath was on Thursday chosen as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, heralding Congress rule in the state after 15 years.
Kamal Nath, who flew in here late in the evening, was formally chosen leader of the state Congress legislature party after party President Rahul Gandhi decided on his name over the other aspirant Jyotiraditya Scindia.
“Rahul Gandhi has chosen Kamal Nath as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister,” party observer A.K. Antony said at the legislature party meeting.
Kamal Nath told the gathering that he would fulfil all the promises made in the party’s manifesto.
“I assure every voter of Madhya Pradesh that we will fulfil our promises. The people have stood with the truth,” he said.
He thanked the party workers for effectively taking the message to people in the Assembly elections.
Later, talking to reporters, Kamal Nath said he would meet the state Governor Anandiben Patel on Friday morning to decide on the day and time of his swearing in.
“I shall strive to be true to the trust that the people of Madhya Pradesh have reposed in me,” he said.
Kamal Nath was accompanied at the meeting by Scindia. Both Kamal Nath and Scindia flew to Bhopal late in the evening after four-hour-long consultations with Gandhi.
An apparent reason for Congress President Rahul Gandhi choosing Kamal Nath over Scindia as Chief Minster is the nature of verdict in the state where the party is short of majority by two seats.
The Congress won 114 seats, two seats short of majority in a tight contest, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished a close second with 109 seats in the 230-member House.
The party is dependent on the Independents to cross the half-way mark even as the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have extended the support of their three MLAs. Kamal Nath is seen as someone who can deftly manage allies and supporting parties.
The decision came two days after the election results were declared in Madhya Pradesh.
Kamal Nath, a former Union Minister, was appointed Madhya Pradesh Congress chief only seven months back and immersed himself in preparations for the Assembly polls in the state where the BJP had been in power for 15 years.
He is the senior-most member of the Lok Sabha, having won nine elections.
Although the Congress is also poised to form governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, no decision has yet been taken on the Chief Ministers in the two states.