NEW DELHI: Infighting in the Gujarat Congress is compelling the Congress high command to defer the idea of projecting a Chief ministerial candidate in the state assembly polls next year.

The Congress leadership has projected Ms Sheila Dikshit as a CM candidate for the Uttar Pradesh electoral battle. In Punjab, after some initial reluctance it has named Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh as its 'face' in the state assembly polls to be held early next year.

However, in Gujarat the Congress is being cautious. There are three CM claimants in the state, ageing and ailing to some extent. CLP leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, PCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki who is not active on health grounds and former CLP leader Shaktisinh Gohil are not doing in terms of reviving the Congress in the state but are all vying for the top job.

A senior party leader said that the party is unlikely to have a Chief Ministerial candidate in Gujarat in order to ensure that the state leaders contest the polls unitedly. And ensure sufficient seats to form the government in the state, where opportunity has for the first time opened the door with the Patel and Dalit protests against the BJP government.

Although the Congress is out of power in the state since 1989 ,it has not become irrelevant as in Uttar Pradesh,Bihar,Tamil Nadu,West Bengal and Orissa.

But the big issue is will defeat the BJP whose vote bank has been split but not completely? The Congress party managers are clear that they are the only main party in the Opposition in the state, and will benefit from the protests against the BJP. “The Modi bubble has burst, and now the benefit should flow to us,” the sources said.

A Gujarat victory will also be crucial to determining the stakes in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. Without doing much as yet on the ground in Gujarat, the Congress is in an upbeat mood since late last year when it registered a spectacular victory in the panchayat elections .Congress had won 21 out of 31 district panchayats and BJP six. The remaining local bodies delivered a hung verdict.