Amid the ongoing power tussle between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Health minister TS Singh Deo, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel will meet Rahul Gandhi for the second time this week. Bhupesh Baghel will be accompanied by Congress MLAs to Delhi to show his popularity and strength in an escalating leadership crisis in the state.
Baghel holds tight to a job endangered by a minister of his party, TS Singh Deo, who was promised rotational chief ministership after completing two-and-a-half years in the office. It was based on this promise that, Mr Singh Deo agreed to stand down in 2018 and settle for a ministry job, as Mr Baghel took over as Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. In June 2021, Mr Singh Deo demanded that the party make good on its promise, one that the party has never officially acknowledged. Both Mr Baghel and Mr Singh Deo met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday.
Mr Baghel put on notice and told reporters that he would abide by the party’s decision. He told reporters in Raipur: “I will step down when Sonia (Gandhi) and Rahul Ji order me. Those talking about a 2.5-year plan are trying to bring political instability but they will never succeed.”Mr Singh Deo has not returned to Chhattisgarh since the meeting. Sources claim he will not unless the high command comes to a decision.
Congress party never learns from their past mistakes, a similar situation occurred in Madhya Pradesh. No one could mediate and solve the tussle between Kamal Nath and Scindia due to the vacuum in the Congress’ national leadership. Jyotiraditya Scindia’s resignation from Congress and joining the BJP led to the party getting wiped out from the state forever. The Congress in Madhya Pradesh has always been a divided house for the last few decades. In the 1980s, the rivalry was between Arjun Singh and the Shukla brothers. In the 1990s, the rivalry was between three factions: Arjun Singh and Digvijaya Singh in one camp, the Shukla brothers in the second, and MadhavraoScindia in the third.
The flux in the Chhattisgarh politics has become a headache for the Congress party, which is already dealing with factional feuds in two other state governments: Punjab and Rajasthan. Although the 2.5-year formula wasn’t an official thing, Deo’s supporters kept claiming otherwise. The lack of leadership in Congress is a barrier to a logical decision.
If Congress lets Baghel keep his CM post, then there is a possibility that Deo who holds huge popularity on the ground will take away his faction from the Government and the BJP is all set to welcome a coalition with Mr Deo if needed. If Congress decides to replace Baghel with Deo, then it will send Baghel to Uttar Pradesh elections, where the probability of Congress winning elections is next to impossible, or probably Baghel might quit the Congress.
Deo vs Baghel, No matter who wins the CM seat, the Chattisgarh Congress will lose. It is highly embarrassing for the Congress party, which is dealing with high-profile desertions from several states.