BHOPAL: The post-midnight hours were jittery for Congress as despite being the single largest party it lacked the number to reach the magic figure to form the government in the state. However, a phone call by state party president Kamal Nath wiped away all the worries and cleared the way for the Congress to come to power after 15-year exile in the state.
The Congress, which was locked in a tantalising seesaw battle with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, has emerged as the singlelargest party with 114 seats after the vote count ended on Wednesday morning. The BJP, which ruled the state for 15 years, got 109 seats in the 230-member Assembly. The counting of votes which began on Tuesday morning at 8 am, continued till Wednesday morning 5.30 am when the result of Narela constituency in Bhopal district was declared. At PCC office, Congress top leaders Kamal Nath, member of parliament Jyotiraditya Scindia, ex-CM Digvijaya Singh, MP (RS) Vivek Tankha were in huddle to decide the next course as they were two members less from forming the government. Tankha had brought a team of lawyers to handle the legal issue during the counting and thereafter.
Till Tuesday 11.30 pm neck-and neck fight between Congress and BJP kept the party leaders and workers on tenterhooks. Post-midnight, while the Congress stood at 113, the BJP tally was 108. With the Congress and the BJP falling short of a simple majority, the focus had shifted to winning candidates of Samajwadi Party, BSP and Independents who would play a crucial role in government formation. Congress feared that the BJP would explore all options to retain the power in the state and for this they might even go to other parties with offers they wouldn’t refuse. BJP state president Rakesh Singh had already claimed that they were going to meet the Governor and this had put Congress in a bind.
Congress wanted to wait for the counting process to end before talking to smaller parties for support. Around past 2 am, Nath got up from the hall and went to another room to have a word with another party supremo. Nath when returned to the hall looked confident and he smiling told Congress leaders, “Chalo sab ho gaya, hum sarkar banayege” (Well, everything is settled now, we are going to form the government). The relief in Congress state president’s voice cleared all doubts that the party has acquired the required numbers to reach to the magic figure. Things became certain as a few minutes later it was informed that Nath was to address media persons.