The Congress has called Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to Delhi on Friday amid a power tussle between him and state health minister TS Singh Deo, NDTV reported. This came three days after both the leaders met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to resolve their differences.
Deo is reportedly upset with the Congress central leadership for not fulfilling its promise of rotating the chief minister’s post after two-and-a-half years of the party coming to power in the state.
Baghel was sworn in as the state’s chief minister in December 2018, and he completed half of his tenure in June this year. Deo, responsible for the Congress’ victory in the 2018 Assembly polls, was a contender for the chief minister’s post.
The health minister’s supporters insist that the rotational chief ministership deal was agreed upon, but Baghel has dismissed it saying such power-sharing can exist only in a coalition government.
Apart from the chief minister, the Congress has summoned all its Chhattisgarh MLAs to Delhi on Friday. Gandhi is reportedly in favour of the rotational arrangement, according to The Hindu.
After the last meeting, Baghel returned to Chhattisgarh on Wednesday to a rousing welcome. At the Raipur airport, hundreds of supporters and MLAs in his camp showered flowers on the chief minister and shouted slogans supporting him, The Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, Deo is still in the national capital. On Wednesday, he met Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, who has been asked to sort out the infighting in the party.
“If a person plays in a team, then he can aspire to be the captain too,” Deo had told reporters. “It’s not about his thoughts or aspirations. It’s about his capabilities and it is for the high command to take a decision.”
The rift between Baghel and Deo came out in the open in July when party MLA Brihaspat Singh accused the health minister of trying to kill him following an attack on his convoy. Singh claimed that Deo attacked his convoy because he had praised Baghel and said that he would retain the chief minister’s post for the next 25 years. Later, Singh, accompanied by 20 Congress MLAs, had also demanded Deo’s removal from the Cabinet.
In response, Deo had said that he will not attend the Assembly proceedings until the Congress government clears the allegations levelled against him.
The Congress is also trying to resolve factionalism in Rajasthan, amid a standoff between Congress MLAs from the rival camps of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot.