Bhupesh Baghel, TS Singh Deo meet meet Rahul Gandhi as crisis in Chhattisgarh Congress deepens

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Updated: August 24, 2021 1:23 PM

The bone fo contention between Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo is believed to be the two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula.

The bone fo contention between Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo is believed to be the two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula.

Not only in its Punjab unit, the Congress is facing the heat of internal fighting in Chhattisgarh as well. To douse the fire there, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his Cabinet colleague T S Singh Deo met party leader Rahul Gandhi in the national capital on Tuesday. The bone of contention is the rotational chief ministership between the two which will be discussed in today’s meeting. 

The tension between the chief minister and his rival started brewing as the Baghel government completed 2.5 years in office on June 17 this year. Speculations have been rife that there has been a consensus for the top post based on a two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula between Baghel and Deo.

Several state leaders have been claiming that after the Congress came to power in the state in December 2018, Gandhi had conveyed to CM contenders Baghel and Singh Deo that the post would be shared, with Baghel holding it for the first two-and-a-half years.

However, Baghel has repeatedly denied agreeing to any such agreement. He has contended that rotational CMs are a feature of coalition governments while the Congress won with a three-fourth majority in the state.

Talking to reporters before taking off for Delhi Monday evening, Baghel did not divulge the agenda for the meetings in the Capital. “After a long time, I am going to Delhi… The meeting is with Rahul Gandhi. There will also be a meeting with AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and the state’s in-charge P L Punia,” Baghel was quoted by PTI as saying. Asked if Singh Deo would be present during his meeting with Gandhi, the CM said, “I have information of meeting with only Rahul ji.”

Asked whether he would be meeting senior party leaders in Delhi, Singh Deo, who is already in the Capital, told PTI he was not aware of it, and was waiting for a word from Punia. “Punia ji is the person entrusted with this. He is in touch with the high command. It’s for him to convey. We are waiting for his message. I have informed Punia ji that I am in Delhi and I suppose we will be told in the morning (about a meeting),” Singh Deo said.

When Baghel took oath as Chief Minister on December 17, 2018, Deo and Sahu were sworn in as cabinet ministers. As per speculations, a consensus was reached for the Chief Minister’s post based on a two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula between Baghel and Deo.

Whenever asked about the power-sharing formula, the chief minister had replied that he would vacate the post if the party high-command wants him to.

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