Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, who was instrumental in the party’s return to power in Madhya Pradesh, will be the state’s new chief minister, News18 has reported.
Formal announcement is likely to be made at 9.00 pm today. Nath’s colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was seen as a close contender to the CM’s chair, proposed his name on Wednesday.
The Congress, which was locked in a tantalising see-saw battle with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, has emerged as the single-largest party with 114 seats after the vote count ended on Wednesday morning, according to the State Election Commission Office.
The party is, however, two short of the simple majority mark, 116 seats, in the 230-member Assembly. The BJP was close behind with 109 seats.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won two seats and the Samajwadi Party (SP) one. Independents bagged four seats, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told PTI.
BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday said her party will extend support to the Congress to form government in Madhya Pradesh and, if required, in Rajasthan too.
On Tuesday night, Nath, chief of the Congress' state unit, wrote to governor Anandiben Patel late on Tuesday night, staking claim to form the government in the state, a party spokesperson said.
The party claimed it has the support of the independent candidates also.
"The Congress party has emerged as the single largest party with a majority support. All the independents have in addition assured support to the Congress party," the letter said.
Born in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to businessman father Mahendra Nath and mother Leela, Nath is an alumnus of the prestigious Doon School (at Dehradun in Uttarakhand) and did his graduation from St Xavier's college, Kolkata, before taking a plunge into politics.
Along with Scindia, Nath, 72, was tasked with reviving the fortunes of the opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh, where the party has been out of power since 2003 and had to face a BJP onslaught in the final days of electioneering.
Nath is a nine-time Lok Sabha MP from Chhindwara.
First Published: IST