The Congress party on Tuesday made a strong comeback in Chhattisgarh, winning 68 of the 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The BJP, which was ruling the state since 2003 under doctor-turned-politician Raman Singh's leadership, finished second with just 15 seats.
The Congress party on Tuesday made a strong comeback in Chhattisgarh, winning 68 of the 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The BJP, which was ruling the state since 2003 under doctor-turned-politician Raman Singh’s leadership, finished second with just 15 seats. Although the Congress now enjoys a brute majority in the state, picking a powerful leader who can lead over 2.50 crore people remains an unfinished agenda of the party.
According to a PTI report, the Congress legislature party will meet on Wednesday in Raipur in the presence of party’s state in-charge PL Punia and observer Mallikarjun Kharge. As Congress draws a strategy and meets its newly elected MLAs to seek their feedback, here is a look at the three leaders who have emerged as frontrunners for the top job:
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Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh Congress president
Bhupesh Baghel is an MLA from Patan seat. He currently serves as the president of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee since October 2014. Baghel comes from OBC community that has dominance in the state’s electoral politics. OBCs comprise around 36% of state’s total population.
Baghel had also served in Digvijaya Singh’s government in undivided Madhya Pradesh between 1998 and 2000. In 2000, when Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh, he was made the first Minister for Revenue, Public Health Engineering and Relief Work. Besides, he had also served as deputy Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly between 2003 and 2008.
Baghel was appointed the president of Chhattisgarh Congress in 2014. Just ahead of the Assembly polls, he had undertaken a foot march across the state to garner public support for the Congress.
Tribhuvaneshwar Saran Singh Deo (TS Singh Deo)
TS Singh Deo is also among the top contenders for CM’s role in Chhattisgarh. He is also the richest MLA in Chhattisgarh. Deo is Leader of Opposition the outgoing Assembly. Rao won elections from Ambikapur constituency. He comes from the Sarguja Royal family, a key princely state of Central India during British raj.
Deo has been very active in state’s politics and played a key role in Congress’ thumping win in the just concluded Assembly polls. He is also considered close to Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Tamradhwaj Sahu, Congress MP from Dug
Tamradhwaj Sahu is the lone Congress’ MP from Chhattisgarh. He represents Durg parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha. He is also seen as a dark horse in the running. Sahu is currently the chairman of Congress’ OBC cell and considered a close aide of Gandhi family.
Sahu has a stronghold on nearly 18 seats. If reports are to go by, the party may appoint him as the next Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh in a bid to woo the OBCs and backwards of the state in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.