New Delhi: Suspense over whom the Congress would pick to be the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh continued on Thursday, two days after the party won the elections to their assemblies.

The Congress is faced with a problem of factionalism in all the three states, and contenders continued jockeying for the top post on Thursday.

It was, however, all but clear that the grand old party was opting for the old guard over young blood in both Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with both Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot emerging as front runners.

Party president Rahul Gandhi, who has been authorized to take a call, held marathon meetings on Thursday with party leaders from all the three states but until late evening there was no official confirmation of the names.

Gandhi is known to have been joined by his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, as well as sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, during the discussions at the former’s official residence, 10, Tughlak Road.

The problem for Congress continued to be Rajasthan as factionalism there was out in the open. There were reports of outbreaks of violence and protests allegedly by a section of party workers and supporters of state unit chief Sachin Pilot, a contender for the top job.

“There have been incidents of protests by some section of party workers and that has worried the top leadership. The attempt is to announce any name only after a common ground is reached between both factions," a senior party leader from Rajasthan said requesting anonymity.

Both Gehlot and Pilot appealed for peace among party workers and said that they would abide by Gandhi’s decision.

Late in the evening, senior leaders from Chhattisgarh held a meeting with Gandhi. The party had swept the state but is still facing problems in deciding on a chief ministerial candidate because of pressure from different aspirants to the post.

“The choice of both Nath and Gehlot seems certain. The leadership is leaning towards the old guard ahead of the general elections next year. In Chhattisgarh, however, things have got delayed beyond our expectation because of local resistance to some names," a senior party leader said.

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