Chhattisgarh: Congress MLAs reach Delhi; speculations rife over leadership change
As the suspense over the possibility of change in leadership in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh continues, the political heat appears to be once again escalating in the state after over a dozen Congress MLAs reached Delhi on Wednesday. The political circle in the state was abuzz with speculation that the legislators have gone to express their support to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
Visit linked with Rahul Gandhi's proposed Chhattisgarh tour: MLAs
However, the MLAs who have reached the national capital said their visit was linked with the proposed tour of former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to the state. "Around 15-16 party MLAs have reached Delhi and are staying at different places. Rahul Ji's visit to Chhattisgarh is proposed," said Brihaspat Singh, the party MLA from Ramanujganj seat of the state.
Wanted to request Rahul Ji to extend his tour: Singh
Singh said, "We wanted to convey a request to Rahul Ji through our state in-charge PL Punia Ji that he should extend the duration of his tour so that MLAs could benefit from it." "We've come to Delhi to make this request. We will speak to Punia sir on Thursday in this regard. Our visit should not be seen otherwise," he added.
There is no issue of leadership change: Singh
When asked whether their visit was aimed at expressing support to Baghel, Singh said, "Our party has 70 MLAs, out of which 60 legislators had last time told everything to Punia Ji." "When there is the blessing of the high command, support of MLAs and the chief minister is working well, then no such issue (of leadership change) exists," he added.
Situation in Chhattisgarh is not similar to Punjab: Singh
Denying the alleged tussle between Baghel and state health minister TS Singh Deo, Singh said that both the leaders had recently shared the stage and exchanged sweets and that they respect each other. "The situation in Chhattisgarh is not similar to Punjab. The high command would not put the entire government at stake just to make one leader happy," he said without naming anyone.
Here is how the demand for leadership change started
The demand for leadership change reared its head after Baghel completed two and a half years as chief minister in June. Deo camp claimed that the high command in 2018 had agreed to hand over the post to him after the government completed half term.
Baghel and Deo were summoned to Delhi in August
Punia has denied many times that any such deal was struck in 2018 when the party came to power by dislodging the BJP. The Congress high command summoned both Baghel and Deo to Delhi in August to resolve the feud. It appeared that Baghel had won this round when he told reporters upon return that Rahul had agreed to visit Chhattisgarh "on his invitation."
Those talking about rotation are promoting political instability: Baghel
Baghel had also said that those talking about rotating the CM's post were promoting political instability. Notably, as many as 54 Congress MLAs had visited Delhi separately when Baghel was in the national capital, in an apparent show of strength on his side.