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Rahul Gandhi puts stamp on Congress ministries

Earlier, four of the secretaries entrusted with overseeing the candidate selection in the state were consulted by the Congress president to finalise the Cabinet list.

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Rahul Gandhi (c) wants peace to prevail between old and young rank in party
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The impasse over cabinet formations in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan seems to have finally ended after Congress president Rahul Gandhi met the chief ministers of both states in New Delhi on Saturday. MP chief minister Kamal Nath's cabinet would be sworn in on December 25, while deliberations over the cabinet in Rajasthan continued late in the night even after Rahul Gandhi concluded his meeting with chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot.

Sources said, names in the cabinet are largely settled and the swearing-in of the new ministers in Gehlot government could be possible on December 24. "Gandhi was consulting the state in-charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pandey, after deliberations with Gehlot and Pilot," a Congress office-bearer from Rajasthan who is camping in Delhi said.

Earlier, four of the secretaries entrusted with overseeing the candidate selection in the state were consulted by the Congress president to finalise the Cabinet list. In Rajasthan, both Gehlot and Pilot camps are engaged in a game of one-upmanship to ensure their members get their due in the Cabinet formation. Sources said Gehlot is likely to go with 20 ministers and parliamentary secretaries in the first round of cabinet formation. Before leaving for Delhi, Gehlot appointed retired bureaucrat Arvind Mayaram who has served as finance and tourism secretary at the Centre, as his economic advisor indicating he would be retaining finance portfolio.

In Chhattisgarh, the Congress is facing a problem of plenty. Sources said chief minister Bhupesh Baghel is brainstorming with party leadership including the state in-charge Motilal Vora. "The size of the cabinet according to constitutional provision cannot exceed 13 in Chhattisgarh. There are 68 Congress legislators in the assembly now," a source said. There are around one-and-a-half dozen MLAs who are entering the assembly for a second time or more, they added.

"Rahul Gandhi was very clear that the internal tussle in Madhya Pradesh and in Rajasthan between the chief ministers and the young leaders (Jyotiraditya Scindia and Pilot, respectively) doesn't reflect in cabinet formation," a party official said. Both Gehlot and Nath are stationed in New Delhi for the last two days.

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