T.S. Singh Deo , Tamradhwaj Sahu to get key Chhattisgarh Ministries

Mr. Deo tipped for Finance and Mr. Sahu Farm or Public Works.

December 18, 2018 10:10 pm | Updated December 19, 2018 08:29 am IST - New Delhi

Joint effort:  (from left) Chhattisgarh Chief Bhupesh Baghel, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, T.S. Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu after the swearing-in function in Raipur on Monday.

Joint effort: (from left) Chhattisgarh Chief Bhupesh Baghel, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, T.S. Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu after the swearing-in function in Raipur on Monday.

Chhattisgarh Ministers T.S. Singh Deo is likely to get the key portfolio of Finance and and Tamradhwaj Sahu either Agriculture or Public Works. The allocation of portfolios in the Bhupesh Baghel Cabinet is expected to be completed by December 24, Congress sources say.

Mr. Baghel is expected to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi soon to discuss the allocation, said a Congress leader, who did not wish to be identified. Mr. Deo and Mr. Sahu, who had earlier been in the reckoning for the top job in the State, were sworn in along with Mr. Baghel on Monday.

A day after pictures of the beaming trio holding hands with Mr. Gandhi were broadcast from Raipur, the jockeying for the meaty assignments has begun.

According to party officials, Mr. Deo had made it clear that having missed out on the top post, he should be given the Finance portfolio, which would enable him to influence key policies. The former Leader of the Opposition is considered the brain behind the party’s manifesto, or Jan Ghoshna Patra, which promised a farm loan waiver and a minimum support price of ₹2,500 a quintal for paddy.

Influential community

Mr. Sahu, who belongs to the dominant Sahu community, an OBC caste, could get either Agriculture or the Public Works portfolio, a party leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Sahu, who had earlier been seen by some as a favourite of the party’s leaders in Delhi, lost out after Mr. Baghel, Mr. Deo and former Chattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee chief Charan Das Mahant all opposed his candidature, party leaders said. A miffed Mr. Sahu had walked out of the meeting before being placated by the party leadership, the sources said. The idea of having Mr. Deo and Mr. Sahu share the top job, with each occupying the post for two-and-a-half years, was also briefly considered before being dropped as many felt that it would send out a wrong message, especially after the Congress had won such a decisive mandate.

Within hours of taking the reins on Monday, the Congress government cleared a waiver of farm loans amounting to ₹6,100 crore which would help over 16 lakh farmers. It also announced the promised support price for paddy and a decision to set up a special investigation team to probe the Maoist ambush of 2013 in the Jiram Valley, in which the party’s top leaders in the State were all killed.

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