Raipur, 26 August. Congress top brass and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel have been relentlessly attempting to draw a veil over the change of guard controversy in the state notwithstanding, the contentious fifty-fifty formula appears to have been grabbing the political perception faster than ever even as the triumphant looking Baghel derided the alleged formula and its protagonists.
Visibly upset though, CM played triumphant on landing at the Raipur airport with a set of his supporters accorded him a rousing welcome Raipur after two days of hectic parleys in the national capital with interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi. Addressing a contingent of the media at the airport Bhupesh announced that those who have been chanting the alleged two-and-half-year formula are trying to bring political instability, but they will never succeed.
“I had said earlier also that I will hold this office as long as I have their (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) order to do so. I will give up this post when I will be asked to do so by them. Those who have been chanting the alleged formula of two and a half years are trying to bring political instability. But they will never succeed”, Baghel quipped. The message appears to assure his supporters that things are under his control and there is no need to panic.
The rival camp led by sulking Health Minister TS Singh Deo on the contrary looks certain and assured about their imminent windfall. Their side of the story looks different altogether and has a lot to place them in cozy comforts, they claimed. “As per as my information is concerned Congress top brass including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal, and P L Punia have made it clear to the incumbent leader to keep his word on the fifty-fifty formula reached between the two leaders before the government formation in 2018.”
Does this mean that Baghel is on his way out and a much-talked-about change of guard is in the offing? Perhaps this is the tricky track where no Congress leader is ready to venture. Not even the CM aspirant T S Singh Deo did not utter even a single word on the contentious issue and the alleged power-sharing formula. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and AIICC in charge of Chhattisgarh Congress, P L Punia have been relentless in their open refusal of any such formula from day one.
Assembly speaker Dr. Charan Das Mahant, unintentionally perhaps, blew the lid off the intense rat race national capital witnessed in freezing December nights in 2018 when Congress astounded political punditry by its landslide victory in the Chhattisgarh assembly
The war that was brewing between the two factions, broke out when Congress MLA Brihaspat Singh alleged last month that Singh Deo wants him to get killed. The drama that unfolded subsequently led Brahaspat to apologize for his charges. The damage however was done and the knives were out. It remains uncertain, however, as to who scripted the thriller that ended up as a potboiler and who blinked first in an impasse that was widely seen as part of a showdown between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Health Minister T S Singh Deo.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who indeed had no direct role in the vitriolic episode, is the net loser who has to bite the bullet. It was he who was seen as the key figure behind Brihaspat Singh’s outburst against Singh Deo.
The thriller, observers believe, was engineered to keep the speculations of a possible change of guard in the state in check and inflict an image crisis on Singh Deo who cherishes Chief Ministerial ambitions. Congress dilemma lingers Chhattisgarh standoff. ( Courtsey, The Statesman)