Amid turf war, Chhattisgarh CM Baghel, Singh Deo go to Delhi to meet Congress high command

Singh Deo’s supporters claimed that as per an understanding reached in 2018, he was supposed to take over after Baghel completed half the term.

Amid turf war, Chhattisgarh CM Baghel, Singh Deo go to Delhi to meet Congress high command
Former Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo (R) and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his cabinet colleague T S Singh Deo, who are locked in a power tussle, have gone to Delhi to meet the Congress high command. Baghel, appointed as the Congress’ senior observer for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, said he would meet party leaders in Delhi on Sunday. “I will also meet our leaders of Himachal Pradesh,” the CM told reporters at the Swami Vivekananda Airport here on Saturday evening before leaving for the national capital.

Singh Deo, who was in Bhopal, had also left for Delhi and will be seeking a meeting with the top Congress leaders, sources close to him said. On July 16, Singh Deo resigned as the minister of Panchayat and Rural Development, though he retained his other portfolios. In his four-page resignation letter to the chief minister, Singh Deo claimed he was unable to fulfil the targets set for the rural development department as per the Jan Ghoshna Patra (poll manifesto), given the “current scenario”.

In June 2021, the rivalry between Baghel and Singh Deo had come to the fore for a brief period after Baghel completed two-and-a-half years as CM. Singh Deo’s supporters claimed that as per an understanding reached in 2018, he was supposed to take over after Baghel completed half the term. While Singh Deo later backed down after both the leaders met the party high command in Delhi, he recently voiced opposition to coal mine projects in the Hasdeo Arand forest area of Surguja district, and hinted the truce was over.

Baghel on Thursday handed over the Panchayat and Rural Development portfolio to senior minister Ravindra Choubey.
Replying to a question at the airport on Saturday, Baghel said “there is respect” for all central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, “but ED raids only those places where there is a non-BJP government.” “They also come to Chhattisgarh….there were no financial irregularities in National Herald (newspaper) but it is investigating it. In Chhattisgarh, chit fund companies looted Rs 6,500 crore from poor people (during the BJP rule) and escaped. Why doesn’t the agency investigate it? We took the initiative and returned Rs 40 crore of investors,” he said.

Former chief minister Raman Singh and his family members were “allegedly brand ambassadors (of chit fund companies)” and there is an FIR lodged against his son (Abhishek Singh) on the direction of the court, Baghel said, adding that as there is an FIR, the ED should conduct a probe into i

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