Chhattisgarh is all set to witness a new CM as incumbent Bhupesh Baghel has completed two and a half years in the state last month. When Congress came to power in the state in December 2018, there were four candidates for the CM chair with TS Singh Deo, former leader of opposition in the assembly being the strongest contender against Baghel.
The party agreed to rotational leadership with the initial two and a half years for Baghel and the rest for Deo. Now Baghel is reluctant to vacate the chair but the party high command wants to deploy him in Uttar Pradesh and install Deo as the CM of Chhattisgarh.
When media persons asked him about rotational leadership, Baghel said, “You keep asking this question, the reply will be given and every time the answer will be the same. The party high command has given this responsibility, and if the high command orders to vacate, then I will do so.”
“Media people ask this question again and again and every time the answer remains the same. Two plus two will always be four. It will neither be more than it nor less than it. Every time you ask I will give the same reply,” the CM added.
He also mentioned about him meeting with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has thrown her weight behind the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections 2022 and wants to rope in Baghel for the same. “I was in Himachal Pradesh to pay tribute to Virbhadra Singh ji After the second wave of COVID-19 broke out (in March end), it was my first visit to Delhi. Today I held a formal meeting with Priyanka ji and Punia ji there,” said Baghel.
In the last two and a half years, Bhupesh Baghel has successfully sidelined other contenders for the CM face like TS Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu, and Charan Das Mahant, overshadowing them in the Chhattisgarh government. He has even faced factionalism just like Amarinder Singh but given his popularity and the hold over the OBC voters, he has been successful in showing the other leaders their place in the administration.
Baghel, who takes a different stance than the Congress party over many ideological issues like Ram Mandir, dealing with Naxals and Nationalism just like Amarinder Singh, is emerging as the next big problem for the Gandhi family whose leadership is already being questioned by the G-23 and many other leaders of the Congress party. Given the fact that Bhupesh Baghel is an efficient administrator and only 59 years old, he might even choose to challenge the leadership of the Gandhi family in the coming years.
Thus, the Gandhi family is using the promise of rotational leadership made two and a half years ago to ensure that Baghel loses the CM chair. After that, it would involve him in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, where it has zero chance of winning, and after the party loses, Baghel would be made a scapegoat to save the image of Priyanka Gandhi.
Given the fact that Priyanka’s years of hard work seem to bring no results for the party in the 2022 assembly election, Congress is looking for a scapegoat and Bhupesh Baghel is a perfect fit for that. The party high command would install TS Singh Deo, the old family loyalist, as the CM in Chattishgarh in the coming weeks.