Chhattisgarh Congress on the line? As Baghel visits Delhi today, here's what we know so far
Amid rumours of a growing rift in the Chattisgarh Congress unit, the state's chief minister Bhupesh Baghel is set to visit the national capital for the second time this week on Friday, August 27, for a meeting with the party's senior leadership in Delhi. It was only on Tuesday that Baghel had travelled to Delhi to meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who also talked to state health minister TS Singh Deo in a bid to resolve a power tussle between the two senior leaders of the Chhattisgarh unit. There has been considerable speculation over a possible change in guard in the state, even as people familiar with internal party matters told news agencies that Baghel has rejected talks about a rotation of the chief minister's post.
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However, it is not just Bhupesh Baghel who is looking to consolidate support with the Congress high command in Delhi; in a show of strength, at least 20 legislators backing Baghel also flew to the national capital late on Thursday night. According to a report by the PTI news agency, several party MLAs who are close to Baghel left for Delhi, while two state ministers and some legislators are already camping in the national capital.
The meeting on Tuesday seems to have been called to thrash out a solution to the impasse in Chhattisgarh, caused by a power-sharing agreement put in place when the government was formed in December 2018. However, PL Punia, in charge of the state's Congress unit, said that the talks among Baghel, Deo, and Gandhi centred around developmental issues and not leadership change. He also told reporters that the senior Congress leaders had not "summoned" any of the state's lawmakers to the national capital.
According to senior leaders close to Chhattisgarh chief minister Baghel, the fresh set of meeting with the party leadership on Friday would bring up “many things still not discussed.”
After meeting the former Congress president, Baghel had said that those who are talking about "two and a half years' (power-sharing formula) are trying to bring political instability and they will never succeed."
Meanwhile, Singh Deo, who has remained in Delhi since the meetings on Tuesday, said, “If a person plays in a team, then doesn’t he think of becoming the captain? Everyone thinks about that but the question is not about thoughts, it’s about capabilities. The high command takes a decision.” Leaders close to the health minister said that they were staying in Delhi to avoid a situation of competing shows of strength in Raipur, and hoped for a quick declaration.