Bhupesh Baghel might have ridden to power through his populist measures in the state of Chhattisgarh winning 68 seats in the 90-member state assembly that ended the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 15-year rule in the state with Raman Singh as CM. But of late it seems everything is falling apart for the Congress CM Bhupesh Baghel.
His pot of sins is full up to the brim and the people in the state are running thin on patience. The highly-publicized poll promises are not being fulfilled and Congress is well on its way to leave another state of the country in disarray and shambles.
One of the major poll planks of Congress in Chhattisgarh was providing Rs. 2500 monthly unemployment allowance to the unemployed in the state right after assuming the office. Congress’ whole election campaign was built around unemployment. Even after more than a year in the office, Baghel has not yet acted upon his promise. The unemployed of the state have given an ultimatum, otherwise, they will be hitting the roads, just like the paddy farmers. To a layman, it certainly looks like Baghel bit more than he could chew.
There are about 23 Lakh registered unemployed in the state of Chhattisgarh. The unemployed youth is rightfully demanding what was promised. The state government is already in trouble with the non-procurement of paddy and the conundrum of Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The infuriated farmers had launched a massive demonstration where they blocked the state highways in different regions over the shortage of gunny bags leading to the halt and delay in the procurement at various centres.
The opposition BJP lashed out at the state government alleging that the present regime is humiliating the farmers who are facing “a huge problem in selling their paddy stocks”.
The Baghel government came to power in December 2018 largely and squarely on the promise that the procurement price of paddy would be set at Rs 2,500 per quintal. This is the first full season when it was to abide by its commitment but Baghel government has miserably failed to do so.
It has barely been able to pay an MSP of Rs 1,815 and Rs 1,835 per quintal. The rest the Chhattisgarh government says will be paid in three instalments by the end of May. The farmers in Chhattisgarh are in a pitiable condition and it’s because they have to wait endlessly for their elected representatives to give them what was promised to them.
Another low for the Chhattisgarh government was scrapping off the Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan (MISA/Defence of India Rules detainees) Samman Nidhi Rule, launched in 2008 by the then BJP government. Under the scheme, people who spent three months in jail under MISA provisions during the Emergency were given Rs 10,000 a month. Those imprisoned for six months got Rs 15,000 a month and those jailed for over six months Rs 25,000. Under the rule, MISA detainees with no criminal cases were given pensions, and after their deaths, their wives were given half the amount.
The scrapping of the scheme has denied the wives and children of the much-needed financial support that they so badly needed.
The list of sins of Baghel does not stop here, the Congress-led Chhattisgarh government has moved the Supreme Court under Article 131 seeking to declare the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008 arbitrary and unconstitutional. What the Chhattisgarh government has challenged is not the 2019 Amendment but the 2008 Act itself, which was ironically brought in by the former Congress government. Therefore, the Congress-led government is now looking to destroy the very basis of the NIA, which was established by the Congress-led UPA government itself as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
The NIA has played a crucial role in tackling Naxalism. The premier anti-terror probe agency also forms a crucial part of the Modi government’s strategy to choke Naxal funding. However, this move by Chhattisgarh government makes it clear that the Congress-led government is shielding Naxal ambitions in the Naxal hit State by challenging the validity of the NIA Act which can bring the very existence of the top anti-terror probe agency under threat.
Bhupesh Baghel’s insidious government had announced a hike in reservation last year. Under the new reservation policy, 32 per cent for STs, 13 per cent for SCs and 27 per cent reservation would be given to OBCs. This takes the quantum of the reservation to 72 per cent. The hike concerned only vertical reservation which far exceeded the 50 per cent ceiling. Add to it, horizontal reservation in the form of ex-servicemen quota, physically handicapped quota, etc. and the total number of unreserved seats would constitute a lean minority of the total number of vacancies.
If all these examples were not enough to prove how bad and incompetent Baghel, the CM has been, all in one year after being handed reins of the power of the state. The reader should read about the numerous cases pending against him. The State Economic Offenses Investigation Bureau registered a case against Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel under the Prevention of Corruption Act. His wife Mukteshwari and mother Bindeshwari were also accused in this case. Baghel is accused of having misused his position while being a member of SADA (Special Area Development Authority) and also in the Mansarovar scheme of Bhilai-3. He is accused of incorrectly allotting 6 plots each to his wife and mother. Besides this case, 10 other cases have been filed against the CM elect of Chhattisgarh. These cases are related to voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty (IPC Section-332), using a forged document or electronic record (IPC Section-471), and armed with a deadly weapon (IPC Section-148).
Baghel has had his own share of controversies such as the fake sex CD scandal that had brought him in a spot of bother in the run-up to the Assembly polls in 2018. Bhupesh Baghel got the attention of the national media when his close relative and senior journalist Vinod Verma was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police in an alleged sex CD case in connection with the state Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Rajesh Munat.
There are no qualms about the fact that Bhupesh Baghel has let the people of Chhattisgarh down. His dodgy governance style is neither pro-people nor pro-farmer. The fact that he has not fulfilled the poll promises shows that he cannot be trusted for his words. The 15 years of Raman Singh saw Chhattisgarh becoming one of the fastest developing state but the arrival of Congress has hard-braked the progress. Baghel has a lot of ground to cover and if he does not gets his act right then there is lot of trouble in the store for him and the grand old party of Congress.