Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel will be Chhattisgarh's new chief minister, the party announced on Sunday, saying the veteran politician's first task will be to waive off farmers' loans.
Baghel, 57, is an OBC leader and the led the party to a two-thirds majority in the mineral-rich state, ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government after 15 years.
He will be sworn in as chief minister at 5pm on Monday in Raipur, said senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge after a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the state capital.
"Celebrations are in order in Chhattisgarh as @Bhupesh_Baghel is appointed CM. We wish him the best as he forms a govt. of equality, transparency & integrity starting off with farm loan waiver for farmers as we promised," said the Congress on Twitter.
Baghel pipped Congress leaders T S Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant for the Chief Minister's post. “It was a tough decision because all the four leaders worked equally for the party and they all are equal," Kharge was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi selected Baghel, who is an MLA from Patan in Durg district, as the chief minister after several rounds of discussions with the four aspirants at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday
"We conveyed the message to all the legislators today (Sunday) in the CLP meeting during which they all accepted it and unanimously elected Baghel as the CLP leader," Kharge said.
"There are several challenges before us as we have come to power after 15 years in the state. We will fulfil our poll promises and we are confident that Baghel will discharge his responsibilities well," he said.
Maoist-affected Chhattisgarh held elections in two phases on November 12 and November 20. The Congress won 68 seats in the 90-member House. The BJP, which governed the state since 2003, won 15 seats.