What more could Congress give to Sachin Pilot: Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel

The BJP can go to any extent to form a government, whether they have the mandate or not. Even if it means buying legislators to break a government elected by majority, he says

Updated - July 20, 2020 07:00 pm IST

Published - July 20, 2020 09:10 am IST

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel speaks exclusively to The Hindu on the latest scheme ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’ where the State will buy cattle dung, political events in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh’s own political situation as the last of the three States (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were won by Congress in 2018) so far standing untouched by political upheaval

In 2018, the Congress won three States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The party has already lost Madhya Pradesh to the BJP, Rajasthan has been seeing political upheaval for the last few weeks now, Chhattisgarh is the only State that remains standing so far and there are indications of dissatisfaction within the Congress in your State that threatens to boil over?

See, in Madhya Pradesh Jyotiraditya Scindia lost the Lok Sabha election. He wasn't used to living a life without having any public post. This just made him restless. And as far as Sachin Pilot is concerned , not that I have been tracking the Rajasthan events so closely, but it does make one curious why Omar Abdullah was released? He and Mehbooba Muftiji were booked under the same Sections of the law, while she is still languishing, he is out. Is it because Mr. Abdullah is brother-in-law of Sachin Pilot?

As far the BJP is concerned, it is no longer Atalji or Advaniji’s BJP, the present BJP’s only goal is to grab power , irrespective of the path to power. They can go to any extent to form a government, whether they have the mandate or not. Even if it means buying legislators to break a government elected by majority.

Also read: Comment | Piloting a protocol of accommodation

There were three candidates, including you, for the CM’s post before you were picked. Aren’t you too in a Rajasthan-like situation?

No. All of us here share a harmonious relationship.

15 Congress MLAs were recently appointed as Parliamentary secretaries, who have powers at par with a Minister. Isn’t it obvious that the Rajasthan events prompted you to take these steps?

This is not something we did overnight. We had a series of meetings. All senior Ministers and leaders were consulted. AICC in charge of Chhattisgarh P.L. Punia also came for these meetings. These decisions were taken with the approval of the party high command. How am I to foresee the BJP’s moves to destabilise the Rajasthan government? We had been working towards this decision long before anything happened in Rajasthan and it has been unnecessarily connected to the Rajasthan events.

Also read: Vasundhara Raje breaks silence, says ‘I am with BJP and its ideology’

Do you think that the political events of Rajasthan could have been averted had the Congress maintained a balance between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

There was no imbalance? When I was made Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, I relinquished my post as the Pradesh Congress Committee president of the State. Sachin Pilot, was both the Deputy Chief Minister and the Pradesh Congress Committee president. What more can one person be given? Mr. Pilot’s actions clearly show that he is getting blackmailed by the BJP and has been working on their directions.

Also read: Shekhawat questions audio tapes’ authenticity after Rajasthan Police seeks his voice sample

Your government has introduced the ‘Godhan Nyay Yojana’, where the State government will be buying cattle dung. Tell us more about it.

Every State government has different schemes for the cattle but none of them has been successful so far. This is a new experiment to buy cattle dung at ₹2 per kg. Now dung is something that every cattle will produce, whether cows or buffaloes, whether milch cows or non-milch ones. When we buy dung, it serves many purposes. The cattle will have to be fed, so instead of crop burning, they will have to use the crop residue to feed them. At present, the non-milch cattle are set loose on the streets or in the fields. If they are to sell the dung, then these will have to be reared in a shed. This will save our crops and ensure that we don’t have road accidents caused by stray cattle. This cattle dung will be used to make organic manure. The State government already buys fertilisers for crores of rupees for the horticulture department, so instead of buying that, we will utilise this manure.

Was this a concerted effort to counter the BJP’s politics on the cow?

The BJP uses the cow to play politics and to garner votes. What we are doing here is to strengthen the rural economy

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