Congress leader Rahul Gandhi  and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh BaghelIANS (File photos)

Baghel, Deo met Rahul Gandhi; no discussion on leadership change in Chhattisgarh

New Delhi, August 24, 2021

Amid a rift in the Chhattisgarh Congress, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday met Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Health Minister T. S. Singh Deo, but no discussion took place on a change of leadership in the state.

The meeting lasted for over two and a half hours at the residence of Gandhi here. After the meeting, Chhattisgarh Congress in-charge P.L. Punia told the media, "There was no discussion on change of leadership in Chhattisgarh."

Punia also attended the meeting along with the state Chief Minister and the Health Minister.

The meeting of these two leaders with Rahul Gandhi came amid Deo's reported claims for the top post in the state, demanding rotational chief ministership.

Both Baghel and Deo met with Rahul Gandhi as the infighting in Chhattisgarh Congress threatens to boil over.

The Congress had earlier faced similar situation in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and some northeastern states.

There were several reports of differences between Baghel and Deo, with the latter lobbying hard for months to replace Chief Minister Baghel. On July 27, Deo walked out of the Assembly saying, "it is too much" after the opposition created an uproar demanding a House panel probe into Congress MLA Brihaspat Singh's charge that the Minister was behind an attack on him.

Deo and Baghel have been making several trips to the national capital. Deo, for the record, maintains that "Sonia Gandhiji and Rahul Gandhiji will decide." Following his visit, Baghel also rushed to the national capital in July this year.

During his Delhi visit, Baghel said he would abide by the decision of the leadership and returned to Raipur in the same plane with Deo.

After the 2018 Assembly elections, names of Baghel, Deo, Charan Das Mahant and Tamradhwaj Sahu were doing the rounds for the post of the chief minister in the state. However, Baghel emerged as the winner after having several meetings with the Congress top leadership.

The Congress government in the state completed two and half years in June this year.


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