Shortly past midnight on Saturday, the Congress announced that incumbents Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Ashok Chavan would continue as Chief Ministers in Haryana and Maharashtra respectively.
The announcement came after a series of meetings — the last round being at Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence — through the day in the two State capitals and here.
This put an end to the 48-hour-long uncertainty that has prevailed over the Chief Ministership issue since the results of the Assembly elections put the ball in the Congress court in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh.
The Haryana Chief Ministership was the most vexed issue as the poor showing by the party had Mr. Hooda’s detractors gunning for him. The day was marked by a series of meetings of Haryana leaders in the Capital. While the warring groups within the Congress met among themselves to strategise, the three-member team of central observers held two rounds of meetings with senior leaders from the State.
In the morning, the observers Mohsina Kidwai, B. K. Hariprasad and Prithviraj Chavan met all members of Parliament from Haryana to seek their views on the contentious issue of Chief Ministership .
Even as the central leadership was wrestling with the chief ministership issue in Haryana — with the three central observers having a late night meeting with Ms. Gandhi — the entire senior leadership of Maharashtra reached the Capital. Along with the Maharashtra observers, the Chief Minister and other hopefuls — Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Narayan Rane — were closeted with Ms. Gandhi till midnight in a bid to evolve a consensus.
Special Correspondent writes from Mumbai:
Earlier in the day, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) passed a one-line resolution authorising Ms. Gandhi to elect a new leader.