Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday said he was asked to take oath as the Chief Minister by the Congress high command and that it was for them to decide on whether there should be change of guard. He added that “such arrangements take place while running coalition governments”.
Mr. Baghel’s comments are significant in the wake of reports that Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo wants the high command to ‘honour’ the rotation formula of changing the CM after two and half years that was supposed to have been agreed to in December 2018.
Mr. Baghel was speaking after meeting Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at 10, Janpath, the official residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, where the leaders are said to have discussed next year’s Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
“The high command instructed me to take the oath [as Chief Minister], so I took the oath. When they say someone else will be the Chief Minister, then it will be so,” he said, adding, “Such agreements happen in a coalition government but Congress has three-fourth majority in Chhattisargh”.
Mr Baghel, who played a key role in overseeing the Congress’ campaign in the recent Assam Assembly, is likely to be given major responsibility for the U.P. elections as well. Congress treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal and senior leader from U.P., Rajeev Shukla, were also part of the hour long meeting at 10 Janpath on Sunday.
In April, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister’s parliamentary advisor, Rajesh Tiwari, who played a key role in Congress’ Assam campaign, was appointed an All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary for U.P.
During the recent panchayat polls in the State, party workers from Chhattisgarh had gone for booth management, organising workers’s meetings among other things.
The Chief Minister later also met AICC’s Chhattisgarh in-charge P.L. Punia, who told a news agency that there is no ‘rotational plan’ to change Chief Minister.