Updated: August 26, 2021 10:04:57 pm
The political crisis in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh showed no signs of abating with state Health Minister T S Singh Deo seemingly taking a swipe at Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday.
Baghel and Singh Deo have blamed each other for pushing the government into turmoil over the rotational chief ministership issue.
“If a person plays in a team then doesn’t he think about becoming the captain? Won’t you want to become one? Everyone thinks about that but the question is not about his thoughts, it’s about his capabilities,” Singh Deo was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“He (Bhupesh Baghel) might be the CM for 50 years or 10 years or 2 years. This is not fixed,” Singh Deo said while adding that “there is rivalry even among siblings”.
“Healthy competitions take place. I will carry out the responsibility that is given by the high command,” he added.
The remarks come just two days after both Baghel and Singh Deo met senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for nearly three hours to discuss rotating the chief ministership, according to sources. However, no final decision was taken on handing over the mantle to Singh Deo.
Party sources have said splitting the five-year tenure was discussed between Rahul Gandhi, Singh Deo, and Baghel ahead of the decision taken by the Congress leadership to name Baghel as the CM in mid-December 2018. The post was to be shared among the two contenders, with Baghel holding it for the first two-and-a-half years, followed by Singh Deo. Baghel, however, has repeatedly denied any such agreement.
On Thursday, Singh Deo, too, asserted that “the party never spoke about the 2.5 years formula,” and it was “just a media speculation.” “The High Command decides roles of people in the party. We carry out those responsibilities,” he said.
AICC leader in charge of Chhattisgarh, P L Punia, had earlier said that the issue of leadership change was not discussed in the meeting with Gandhi. However, as reported by The Indian Express, sources said it was the central point of the discussions, with both Baghel and Singh Deo putting forth their views. The Chief Minister, sources said, has been told to consider the proposal.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP accused the Congress party of trying to destabilise the state government. Ajay Chandrakar, the BJP legislator from Kurud, in a tweet Thursday said, “Honourable Chief Minister, the post of ‘chief minister’ is not of an individual but it is an institution. Who is trying to destabilise the government of three-fourth majority. ‘Delhi Darbar’ or someone else..? You should clarify. Your statement will affect the development of Chhattisgarh.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.