The Congress staked claim to form the government in Madhya Pradesh after emerging the largest party in a see-saw battle with the BJP till late on Tuesday night.
Taking the responsibility for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh, three-time chief minister of the central state Shivraj Singh Chouhan resigned on Wednesday.
Chouhan said the BJP will not stake claim to form the next government, paving the way for the return of the Congress in crucial Madhya Pradesh after 15 years.
“Ab main mukt hoon (I am free now). I have tendered my resignation to the honourable governor. The responsibility of defeat is totally mine. I have congratulated Kamal Nath ji,” said the outgoing chief minister.
“We don’t believe in politics of ‘jod-tod’. No one has got the mandate but since we also do not have the mandate, we didn’t stake claim to forming the government,” Chouhan added.
Chouhan won from the Budhni assembly constituency as he defeated his nearest rival, Congress’ Arun Yadav.
“Na haar mein, na jeet mein, kinchit nahin bhaybhit main, kartavya path par jo bhi mile, yeh bhi sahi woh bhi sahi (I am not afraid in the face of either defeat or victory, whatever comes my way of duty, I will accept it, because this is also true and that is also true),” he also recited a line from the poem often quoted by late former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was written by Hindi poet Shiv Mangal Singh ’Suman’.
State Congress chief Kamal Nath met Governor Anandiben Patel at about 12 pm and submitted a letter with the names of Independents and others supporting the party. The Congress staked the claim in Madhya Pradesh after emerging as the largest party in a see-saw battle with the BJP till late on Tuesday night.
The Congress is two seat short of the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly. Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati, whose two candidates have won, and Samajwadi Party with one winner have already announced they will support the Congress-led government in the state. Of the four Independents, three have come out in support of the Congress.
On Tuesday night, Kamal Nath had written to the governor saying that the Congress has “emerged the single largest party with majority support”. “All the independents have in addition assured support to the Congress party,” he said, in the letter.
The Congress lawmakers will meet later today to pick the chief ministerial candidate. Kamal Nath and party campaign committee chairperson Jyotiraditya Scindia are front-runners for the post.
It has sent former defence minister AK Antony as an observer for the legislature party meeting. He is also expected to interact with the senior party leaders and individually with the legislators to gauge their mood.
Antony would then inform the party high command about the prevailing view among party leaders and legislators in Bhopal, said senior Congress leaders.