Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo on Tuesday announced that he will not participate in the Assembly proceedings until the Congress government clears the allegations levelled against him by his colleague Brihaspati Singh, The Times of India reported.
The tussle within the Chhattisgarh Congress started on Sunday after Singh accused the health minister of trying to get him murdered after an attack on his convoy. At a press conference, where he was accompanied by 20 Congress MLAs, Singh also demanded Deo’s removal from the Cabinet.
The police have named the minister’s relative, Sachin Singh Deo, in a first information report they filed in connection with the attack on Singh’s convoy on Saturday. The MLA’s convoy was passing through Ambikapur city on Saturday evening when the accused, upset about being overtaken, reportedly stopped an escort vehicle, broke its windshield and hurled abuses at a security officer.
During the Zero Hour on Tuesday, the Opposition sought an investigation into the allegations by an Assembly committee.
TS Singh Deo said, “Now it’s too much. I am also a human being and everyone knows about my character. I don’t think that it is fair to remain in this august house until the government clears the air about the situation.” Deo walked out of the state Assembly immediately after his statement.
Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushi, however, said they were not concerned about the road rage incident. “We are demanding a probe by an assembly committee into the MLA’s allegations that he faced threat to his life,” he added.
Opposition leaders said both the health minister and Singh are members of the House, and therefore such allegations need to be looked into. But, the Speaker said Singh has not raised this matter with him.
On Sunday, Singh also alleged that the attack on his convoy was orchestrated by the health minister because he had praised Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and said that he would retain his post for the next 25 years.
Deo, responsible for the Congress’s victory in the 2018 Assembly polls, was a contender for the chief minister’s post.
Responding to the allegations, Deo on Sunday said that the Balrampur MLA’s remarks could be an emotional outburst.
The crisis in Chhattisgarh came days after the Congress sorted out a squabble between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his former Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu. On July 18, the All India Congress Committee elevated Sidhu as state party chief along with four working presidents.
The Congress is also trying to resolve factionalism in Rajasthan, amid the standoff between Congress MLAs from the rival camps of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot. A Cabinet expansion is expected by the second week of August.