New Delhi: After victory in the recently concluded assembly elections, the Congress will take the reigns from the BJP in the three Hindi heartland states today. Following lengthy discussions and deliberations, the Rahul Gandhi-led party had named the Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh who will take oath today.
A host of leaders attended the swearing-in ceremony of Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi attended all the three oath-taking ceremonies. However, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, three of the country's top opposition leaders, gave the event a miss.
Here are developments to this big story:
- Ashok Gehlot was sworn in as Rajasthan Chief Minister in the morning in Jaipur. Sachin Pilot took oath as Deputy Chief Minister.
- Kamal Nath took oath in the afternoon in Bhopal while Bhupesh Baghel took charge in Chhattisgarh's Raipur around 6 in the evening.
- The venue of swearing-in ceremony of Bhupesh Baghel was changed to Juneja Indoor Stadium from Science College ground as various parts of the state were witnessing incessant rains.
- Three top Opposition leaders -- Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee -- were missing from the events, unlike HD Kumaraswamy's swearing-in May this year which had seen the Opposition in full throttle.
- Other prominent opposition leaders who attended the oath-taking ceremony include former prime minister HD Devegowda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav.
- Sanjay Singh of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party attended the Jaipur event, fuelling talk that the AAP and the Congress may forget their bitter past and present and come together to keep the BJP out in 2019.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sent colleague Dinesh Tripathy to Bhopal. Chief Minister Kamal Nath explained her absence, saying she preferred to stay in Kolkata today, her mother's seventh death anniversary.
- The absence of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supermo Mayawati at the oath-taking event was even more noticeable as she helped Congress touch majority in Madhya Pradesh. Kamal Nath said Mayawati had pulled a nerve.
- On December 11, when votes were counted in five states after month-long elections, the Congress won Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh but the party did not fair well in Telangana and Mizoram.
- The results were the BJP's biggest electoral loss since PM Modi took office in 2014.