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Exclusive: First priority is to waive off farmers’ loans, says Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh’s CM-designate

Bhupesh Baghel, who is said to be a key player behind the party’s impressive win in the state’s assembly elections, was picked as the new chief minister of Chhattisgarh on Saturday

india Updated: Dec 18, 2018 09:48 IST
Ritesh Mishra
Ritesh Mishra
Hindustan Times, Raipur
The decision to name Bhupesh Baghel as Chhattisgarh chief minister was taken at a meeting of the newly elected Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Sunday.
The decision to name Bhupesh Baghel as Chhattisgarh chief minister was taken at a meeting of the newly elected Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Sunday. (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
         

Bhupesh Baghel, who is said to be a key player behind the party’s impressive win in the state’s assembly elections, will be the new chief minister of Chhattisgarh, the Congress announced on Sunday.

The decision to name Baghel as the chief minister was taken at a meeting of the newly elected Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Sunday. The swearing-in ceremony is likely to be held on December 17 (Monday).

The new chief minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, while speaking to Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview, said that his first priority as the new CM is to “waive off the loan of farmers as our president Rahul Gandhi had promised in the campaign rallies”.

As the CM of Chhattisgarh, what is your first priority?

Our first priority is to waive off the loans of farmers as our party president Rahul Gandhi had promised in the campaign rallies. Second will be to procure paddy crops on increased minimum support price (MSP) as promised in our party’s manifesto. We will impose a ban on outsourcing in government jobs with proper planning to facilitate more job creations. Congress government will also work on a new development policy for tribal people. We would also address all the issues of government employees including the Police.

 

Will your government be able to deliver these in next ten days?

Yes, we will. There is no issue. If any financial hurdle comes we will deal it and the promises will be fulfilled.

What are infrastructural changes you are planning after forming the government?

We will discuss about the changes after forming the government. But whatever we will do, it will be for the benefit of the whole of Chhattisgarh, not for a few people.

What will be your strategy for the Maoists movement in Bastar? Human rights activists allege that tribals are killed in the name of anti-naxal operations... What will be your strategy?

This time we have won 11 seats of Bastar division while only one seat we have lost that too a margin of just 2,000 votes. This suggests the tribals of Bastar have discarded the model of Raman Singh. Now, we will look after things in Bastar with a different perspective. The Maoist menace is a politico-economic problem and which could not be eradicated by security forces. If we deal with it as a law and order problem, it can expand further. We have to create trust among the tribals of Bastar. We have to talk to them. ‘Baat ye hai kee aap bandookh se kisi ko maar to sakte hain... uskee vichardhara nahi maar sakte’. ( you can kill anyone with a gun but you cannot kill the ideology with it) . We have to streamline the tribals and have to counter the Maoist ideology.

What is the biggest reason for the defeat of Raman Singh?

In one sentence, I can say that the Raman Singh government has lost the trust of the people of Chhattisgarh. He failed in addressing the needs of the farmers, peasants and workers, hence, people weaned away from him. Massive corruption took place in his reign. All these things went against him and the people voted against the government.

There is a narrative that you will do vendetta politics after becoming chief minister of the state. People from both your party and BJP believe that you are arrogant, rude and doubt about the kind of politics you do. What is your take?

I believe in discipline and to percolate a sense of discipline within the party in the state, as state president, I have to be a little harsh and rigid. This is all for party and people of the state. As far as vendetta politics, I have neither done this and nor will do ..

But there is a sense among the people of the state and even within both the parties that as the chief minister you will start targeting people who were against you .

I have said this earlier also that my first aim is to work for the farmers. If I had been into vendetta politics, I would have said that I will get everything about Raman Singh and his son investigated but I came to politics not to take revenge from anyone but for jansewa and samajsewa..

These rumours were spread because I fought directly against the people who were behind scams and corruption.. The person who has done nothing wrong, will never say anything against me .

What is your strategy for the upcoming parliamentary elections as a CM ?

We will deliver what we have promised. The strategy which we have made for the assembly election will be implemented in Lok Sabha elections, too. We believe that we will win all 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh.

First Published: Dec 16, 2018 14:17 IST

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