Congress presidential poll | ‘Too junior’ says Chhattisgarh CM Baghel, ruling himself out of the race

Bhupesh Baghel says Congress presidential election process is more democratic than that of the BJP

September 27, 2022 08:07 pm | Updated 08:10 pm IST - RAIPUR

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ on September 8, 2022.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel during his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ on September 8, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday called himself “way too junior” to be in the reckoning for the post of All India Congress Committee president, playing down rumours of his candidature in the wake of a flurry of political developments in Rajasthan.   

Anybody can contest [the presidential polls], but I consider myself too small for it. Becoming the national president of the Congress is a big thing, and one needs to have that kind of experience to know and understand national issues and global challenges. As of now, I consider myself way too junior in such matters,” he told reporters when asked if he was in the race.

Pressed further for a response on whether he would shoulder the responsibility if entrusted with it, Mr. Baghel reiterated that he considered himself “junior”.

Earlier, Ashok Gehlot — Mr. Baghel’s Rajasthan counterpart and the only other Congress Chief Minister in the country — was likely to contest against former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor for the top post. However, legislators loyal to Mr. Gehlot have rebelled against the purported move of the Congress high command to appoint Sachin Pilot as his successor for the Rajasthan Chief Minister’s post. This is said to have upset Congress president Sonia Gandhi and adversely impacted Mr. Gehlot’s possible candidature.

‘Lack of internal democracy in BJP’

Mr. Baghel questioned the “lack of internal democracy” in the BJP when it came to that party’s presidential elections. It’s widely anticipated that BJP president J.P. Nadda, who will complete his three-year tenure in February 2023, will get an extension.

“The whole country knows that the Congress is holding elections [to elect its next national president] but in the Bharatiya Janata Party, elections are over and no one got to know. What kind of a democracy is this? Two individuals [a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah] made [him the party president] and he [Mr. Nadda] got a second tenure … There was no meeting, voting or election date,” Mr. Baghel said.

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