New Delhi: It hasn’t been even a day since the results to Assembly elections came out in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (along with those of Mizoram and Telangana), and the Congress, which has outperformed the BJP in its own stronghold, has begun mulling over the Chief Ministerial candidates.
Discussions are now underway within the party. Given that the Congress had not declared a chief ministerial candidate before the polls, party leaders are silent on who will get the top job, leaving it to the party high command. Here’s a look at the leaders in the running for the job:
Ashok Gehlot: Gehlot has served as the state’s Chief Minister of Rajasthan from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2008 to 2013. With his return to state politics, he could be a contender for the CM post. Gehlot has won in Sardarpura constituency but he is also the party’s national general secretary and in-charge of the organisation.
Sachin Pilot: Gehlot’s rival and the Congress chief in the state, Pilot is the son of senior Congress politician late Rajesh Pilot. Many would say he has single-handedly brought the Congress back to power in the state. It remains to be seen if Rahul Gandhi would ahead with a young face in Rajasthan.
Kamal Nath: Kamal Nath is the longest-serving and senior-most member of Lok Sabha. He was elected as the president of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in May 2018 to lead the party in these Assembly elections. Nath was first elected to the seventh Lok Sabha in 1980 and never lost since. A leader who has a large follower base in the state, Nath could be Rahul’s choice.
Jyotiraditya Scindia: A Harvard graduate with a royal family background, Scindia was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time in February 2002 from Guna district which was earlier represented by his father Madhav Rao Scindia. He was re-elected in May 2004 and was introduced to the Union Council of Ministers in 2007 as Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology. Scindia claims to have covered over 115 constituencies in the state ahead of the elections, working towards ending the Shivraj Singh Chouhan rule in the state. Now he could well be given charge if Rahul wants to push young blood across states where the Congress is in power.
Tamardhwaj Sahu: The 69-year-old MP from Durg is a strong OBC leader and a member of the influential Sahu community. Sahu won from the Durg (Rural) Assembly constituency. He is a social worker and has held energy, education and water resources portfolios in Chhattisgarh government.
TS Singh Deo: He is the current Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly. A member of Indian National Congress, he represents Ambikapur constituency.
Bhupesh Baghel: He is the current President of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee. Baghel, who represents the Patan constituency (District Durg), was appointed a minister of state in Digvijaya Singh’s cabinet in December 1998 and promoted as Minister of Transport in December 1999.