Chhattisgarh Cong in-charge PL Punia, co-incharge Chandan Yadav in Raipur today
Amid talks over the reported two-and-a-half-year power-sharing agreement between Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and his cabinet colleague TS Singh Deo, state in charge of Congress PL Punia, along with co incharge Chandan Yadav, will be in Raipur on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
People in the Congress state unit claimed that a meeting with the senior Congress leaders and office bearers has been called on Wednesday evening. Both will reach Raipur from Delhi at around 8 pm.
The development comes a day after Singh Deo was on a one-day visit to Delhi and reportedly met a senior Congress leader on Tuesday. Singh Deo returned to Raipur on Tuesday evening.
“It was just a courtesy call nothing more than that... no political development,” Singh Deo told HT.
On August 28, emerging after a long meeting with the Congress high command on suggestions that he should move aside because of a reported two and a half year power-sharing agreement with colleague TS Singh Deo, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel seemed to have bought some time. He said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would visit the state the next week, especially Bastar, to review the work that was being done.
The next day, when Singh Deo returned, he said that he had spoken to the leadership too and they had kept a “decision safe”.
Congress leadership in Delhi believes that the visit of Punia and Yadav on Wednesday should not be seen as a ‘political development’.
“I believe that the decision over power-sharing is reserved with the high command but there is confusion and desperation among the Congress leaders, bureaucrats and media in Chhattisgarh. Punia and Yadav are going for the first time after the turmoil started about two months ago. The aim is to ease out the confusion prevailing in Chhattisgarh,” said a senior Congress leader based in Delhi.
Meanwhile, functionaries close to Baghel asserted that the visit is routine which will be followed by meetings.
“The visit of Punia and Yadav is routine... Actually, their visit was due for a couple of months. There are some meetings lined up with office-bearers and leaders,” said a leader close to the CM.
In December 2018, in the aftermath of a dominant Congress performance where the party won 68 of 90 seats, even as the party’s Delhi leadership sought to put out leadership fires in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh emerged as a problem too.
Four state leaders, Baghel, home minister Tamradhwaj Sahu, speaker Charan Das Mahant and Singh Deo flew to Delhi, all eyeing the chief minister’s post.
As Mahant settled for the speaker’s post, friction between Baghel and Singh Deo meant that Sahu first emerged as the frontrunner, but pushed by the idea that a third leader would take the top position, Baghel and Singh Deo, along with Punia and Gandhi, reportedly arrived at a power-sharing arrangement.