Bhupesh Baghel to continue as Chhattisgarh CM

However, Rahul Gandhi is believed to have told him to treat colleagues with respect

August 24, 2021 12:16 pm | Updated November 22, 2021 09:42 pm IST - New Delhi

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File

Bhupesh Baghel will continue as the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh for now, but he should treat his colleagues in the government with respect. This message was conveyed to Mr. Baghel after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi met him and the State’s Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo to resolve their growing differences over the leadership issue.

Mr. Deo had earlier claimed that Mr. Baghel was sworn in as the Chief Minister on the condition that he will abide by a power sharing formula agreed upon at a meeting between him, Mr. Baghel and Mr. Gandhi. Under the arrangement, Mr. Baghel was to vacate the Chief Minister’s post in favour of Mr. Deo on June 17 this year on completing a tenure of 2.5 years. Mr. Baghel has maintained that such an arrangement was never agreed upon. The Chief Minister's post is rotated only in a coalition government, he has said. At the same time, he has maintained that he will resign whenever the Congress leadership asks him to.


Mr. Deo is said to be unhappy and sources say he may not continue in Mr. Baghel’s cabinet.

The Health Minister is reported to have raised the issue of split tenure as well as the manner in which he was treated by the Chief Minister and Mr. Gandhi is said to have expressed his displeasure over this in his meeting with Mr. Baghel.

Separate meetings

Though both the Chhattisgarh leaders arrived simultaneously, Mr. Gandhi is learnt to have met them separately.

General secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal and All-India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge P.L. Punia were present at these meetings that went on for nearly three hours.

“Venugopal ji has been entrusted the work of resolving some of the issues that came up in the meeting and Rahul ji has asked the two leaders to work together to strengthen the organisation in Chhattisgarh,” a source told The Hindu .

Speaking to a news agency, Mr.Punia claimed that “there was no discussion on a change in leadership in Chhattisgarh”.

“We met Rahul ji and discussed in detail the various schemes undertaken by the Chhattisgarh Government,” Mr. Baghel told reporters outside Mr. Gandhi's residence.

Factional war

After Punjab and Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh is the latest Congress-ruled State that is witnessing a bitter factional war playing out in the media. Tensions have been simmering since June when supporters of Mr. Deo began reminding the Congress’s top leadership of the rotational formula.

Despite a clean sweep in Chhattisgarh in the December 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress had problems in naming its Chief Minister, as the top post was intensely contested by Mr. Baghel, then the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, and Mr. Deo, who was head of the Congress’s Campaign Committee.

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