Veteran leader Kamal Nath, who brought together warring factions to deliver a victory for the Congress in the bellwether heartland state of Madhya Pradesh, is most state leaders' choice for the post of chief minister, sources said. The alternative is Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has the advantage of youth and popular appeal. The decision, however, was left to party chief Rahul Gandhi this evening - in a one-line resolution after a two-hour meeting of the state legislature party.
Mr Scindia said in a tweet: "After a meeting with Congress' newly appointed lawmakers, we have decided that the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh will be chosen by the high command of the party. Whatever they decide, we will happily accept it."
There are indications that Mr Nath is being positioned for the lead role, sources said.
Last night, he was the one to write to Governor Anandiben Patel, claiming majority and asking for an appointment to stake claim to form government.
This afternoon, he went alone to meet Shivraj Singh Chouhan after he stepped down from the top job -- a task that usually falls to a chief ministerial candidate.
Among Kamal Nath's many supporters is veteran leader Digvijaya Singh, say insiders. The two contemporaries have not always been the best of friends. But recently, asked about the advantages of youth versus age for the state's top job, Mr Singh had responded, "There is no senior junior in politics".
The only indication about the way Mr Gandhi is leaning came a year earlier, when at a rally in Mandsaur, Mr Gandhi had said, "Scindia is young, Kamal this time!"
Mr Scindia has made it clear that he was ready for the job if it was offered. "Absolutely...It would be an honour to serve as chief minister," Mr Scindia has told NDTV.