Other States

In Chhattisgarh, tension within Congress escalates

Tight spot: CM Bhupesh Baghel and Congress leader P.L. Punia after meeting Rahul Gandhi in Delhi last month.   | Photo Credit: -

Amid a flare-up in the tension between Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Health Minister T. Singh Deo, the Bilaspur District Congress committee expelled Bilaspur MLA Shailesh Pandey for alleging that the Chhattisgarh police’s first information report (FIR) against Congress leader Pankaj Singh for “manhandling” a paramedic at the Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Sciences was to intimidate Mr. Deo’s supporters.

 

Mr. Deo has staked claim for the Chief Minister’s post as part of a 2018 arrangement of rotational tenure that he claims was agreed between him and Mr. Baghel. He has been in Delhi since Monday. Mr. Deo said it was a personal visit. So far, he has not met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi or any other functionary at the headquarters, to avoid speculation of renewed efforts by him to lobby for the post. He is leaving for Raipur on Friday.

Mr. Gandhi is expected to visit the State next week. He is coming on an invitation from Mr Baghel.

The Bilaspur police had filed the FIR on Wednesday against Mr. Singh based on CCTV footage from the hospital that shows the assault. Mr. Singh has described it as an act of revenge. He claimed that he was only intervening because the hospital staff refused to conduct an MRI on a poor patient. The FIR was also filed days after the incident, his supporters claimed. The complaint against Mr. Singh was filed on September 19.

Mr. Deo’s supporters held a demonstration outside the Kotwali police station in Bilaspur on Wednesday in protest.

 

Mr. Pandey said the action was unfortunate and it had been taken only because Mr. Singh was a supporter of Mr. Deo.

“This FIR is just the tip of the iceberg, the police have been told to dig up dirt on everyone who is supporting Mr. Deo,” a Congress leader close to Mr. Deo stated.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 11:09:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-chhattisgarh-tension-continues-in-congress/article36629522.ece

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