Going for status quo, the Congress named Ashok Chavan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda as leaders of its legislature parties in Maharashtra and Haryana, clearing the decks for their return as chief ministers. Meanwhile, both Arunachal strongman Dorjee Khandu and Hooda were sworn in on Sunday for the second terms in their respective state's top posts.
Chavan and Hooda were chosen to head the Congress legislature parties in their respective states well past midnight on Saturday by Congress president Sonia Gandhi after she held several rounds of consultations with senior party leaders who as central observers had interacted with the newly-elected party Members of Legislative Assemblies in the last two days on the leadership issue.
After long-drawn meetings at 10 Janpath, the official residence of Gandhi, senior party leaders A K Antony and Prithviraj Chavan told mediapersons that 51-year-old Ashok Chavan would be the CLP leader in Maharashtra, while Hooda, 62, would head the legislature party in Haryana.
Khandu, 54, who led the Congress to a two-thirds majority in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly elections, was on Sunday morning sworn in as the fifth chief minister of the border state.
Governor General (Retired) J J Singh administered the oath of office and secrecy to Khandu, a former army intelligence officer and social activist who returns as chief minister for a consecutive second term, at a ceremony in Itanagar.Hooda's nomination as CLP leader set at rest speculation about his continuance in the top post after the Congress failed to secure majority on its own in the 90-member assembly, falling short by six seats. However, the party has managed to secure the support of seven independents and is trying to bring the Haryana Janhit Congress, led by Bhajan Lal, on board.