Baghel to be back in Delhi on Friday for meeting with Rahul Gandhi
Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel be in New Delhi for another meeting with party high command on Friday amid the turmoil over a reported two-and-a-half year power-sharing agreement with state health minister TS Singh Deo right after the 2018 assembly election win.
“There is a separate meeting of the CM with Rahul Gandhi on Friday. There were many things which were not discussed on Tuesday because Gandhi had to address a press conference,” a leader close to Baghel said.
Around a dozen MLAs have also been camping in Raipur since Wednesday night, holding meetings with functionaries close to CM at the circuit house. “I got a hint from people close to the CM that a change of guard could happen in the next few weeks,” said a senior legislator on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, two ministers --Shiv Kumar Dahariya and Amarjeet Bhagat—and MLA Vikas Upadhyay reached Delhi on Friday. Party sources claimed they have gone to meet senior leaders, including KC Venugopal and PL Punia. “Those who are going to Delhi are doing so on their own. They know that the hierarchy will change if the chief minister changes,” said a person close to the CM.
An MLA from Bastar said there was a buzz about Singh Deo staying put in Delhi till the commitment made to him was fulfilled, adding, “Something may happen in the next few days.”
Singh Deo, who has stayed back in Delhi, told the media he will follow the decision of the high command. “The party never spoke about the 2-1/2-year formula. This is just media speculation...The high command decides roles for the people in the party and we carry out those responsibilities,” he said.
Referring to Baghel, he said, “He might be the CM for 50 years or 10 years...This is not fixed… There is rivalry even among siblings.”
On Wednesday, Baghel returned from New Delhi after meeting senior leaders to a welcome by 400-odd party workers shouting slogans as “Chhattisgarh ada hua hai, Bhupesh ke saath khada hua hai (Chhattisgarh is standing by Bhupesh)” that spoke of the power struggle within the party.
Some MLAs, meanwhile, are staying away from either camp. “There is total chaos because there is no communication from the party high command...We are afraid to take sides because we know that a small mistake will ruin our political career,” said a legislator.
On Tuesday, Baghel and Singh Deo met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the presence of general secretary in charge of the state, PL Punia, and general secretary (administration) KC Venugopal, reportedly to discuss the power-sharing formula.