After days of lengthy deliberations and a myriad of speculations, the Congress chief minister-designates of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will take the oath of office on Monday, which will turn out to be another show of Opposition unity as several regional leaders have been invited to attend the ceremonies in Bhopal, Jaipur and Raipur.
For Madhya Pradesh, veteran leader Kamal Nath has been named as the CM candidate. In Rajasthan, where the selection went down to the wire, Ashok Gehlot will take oath as the CM for his third stint in office along with deputy CM Sachin Pilot. On Sunday, Bhupesh Baghel was announced as the CM candidate for Chhattisgarh.
The swearing-in ceremonies in the three states are being seen as another opportunity to present a united opposition front against the ruling BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress has also extended an invitation to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to attend the ceremonies, signalling a possible thaw in ties. “The Congress has invited our party and Arvind Kejriwal has authorised me to go as the party representative to Rajasthan,” IANS quoted AAP MP Sanjay Singh as saying.
Rajasthan — CM nominee Ashok Gehlot
The swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister-designate Ashok Gehlot and deputy Chief Minister-designate Sachin Pilot is scheduled to take place at Jaipur’s historic Albert Hall on Monday at 10am. Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi and senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge are expected to attend the ceremony along with a host of other leaders from across the political spectrum.
Former prime ministers H D Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Telugu Desam Party’s N Chandrababu Naidu and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav are some of the political bigwigs who would grace the event.
According to sources in Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav, DMK’s M K Stalin and Kanimozhi, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Hemant Soren, Janata Vikas Morcha’s Babulal Marandi and All India United Democratic Front leader Badruddin Ajmal are also likely to participate. AAP MLA Sanjay Singh will attend the ceremony in Jaipur.
After winning 99 out of 199 seats in Rajasthan, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the state piping the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government.
Madhya Pradesh — CM nominee Kamal Nath
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Kamal Nath will take oath at the Jamboree Maidan in Bhopal at 1.30pm and the ceremony will be preceded by an all-religion prayer meeting.
Apart from Rahul Gandhi, senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, former PMs Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda will also attend the ceremony. Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy, Andhra CM N Chandrababu Naidu, DMK leaders MK Stalin and Kanimozhi are also scheduled to attend the event, Congress media cell chairperson Shobha Oza told PTI.
The Congress had won 114 seats in the 230-member House and has the support of seven MLAs from the BSP, one from the SP and four Independents.
Chhattisgarh — CM nominee Bhupesh Baghel
Congress on Sunday named Bhupesh Baghel as the chief minister face of Chhattisgarh. Baghel will be sworn in on Monday at 4.30 pm, the ceremony will be held at Science College Ground in Raipur. Along with party chief Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, Andhra CM N Chandrababu Naidu has confirmed his attendance at the event.
In Chhattisgarh, Congress romped to power after 15 years with a two-thirds majority, winning 68 seats in the 90-member House.