The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday moved a no-confidence motion in the Chhattisgarh Assembly against the Congress-led state government, NDTV reported. Speaker Charan Das Mahant has scheduled a discussion on the motion on July 27.

While the Congress enjoys a comfortable majority with 71 MLAs in the 90-member House, speculations of a rift between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his senior colleague in the Cabinet TS Singh Deo has sparked concerns for the government.

The BJP moved the no-confidence motion after Deo resigned as the panchayat and rural development minister on Saturday. He, however, continue to hold three other portfolios. In the no-confidence motion, the BJP claimed that the development accounted for a “constitutional crisis” as Deo, in his resignation letter, had said that he was being sidelined and had lost faith on the state government, The Indian Express reported.

“A minister has levelled allegations against the CM [chief minister],” the no-confidence notice stated. “As per constitutional arrangements, the cabinet and the executive are answerable to the legislature but the state government has failed on this front.”

In a four-page resignation letter, Deo had on July 16, complained about “active non-cooperation” for funds to the panchayat and rural development ministry, according to The Indian Express. Deo said there had been disagreements on crucial matters of governance and also expressed discontent on the appointment of a chief secretary-headed committee to approve projects under his discretionary budget.

However, on Sunday, Baghel said that he had not received the resignation letter and came to know about it through media reports.

Baghel-Deo tussle

The pitched battle between the two seniormost leaders of the Chhattisgarh unit of Congress has been going on since the party won the 2018 Assembly elections with an overwhelming majority. Both leaders were in contention to become the chief minister before the Congress’ top leadership chose Baghel over Deo.

According to reports and supporters of Deo, he was promised to be made the chief minister after two-and-a-half years. As Baghel completed half of his five-year tenure in June last year, the Deo camp made a push for the chief minister’s chair resulting in an infighting within the state government.

The rift came out in open in July last year, when party MLA Brihaspat Singh accused Deo of trying to kill him following an attack on his convoy. Singh claimed that Deo attacked him because he had praised Baghel and said that he would retain the chief minister’s post for the next 25 years.

Later, Singh and 20 other Congress MLAs 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. Eventually, the top leadership managed to placate Deo and retained Baghel as the chief minister.

A year later, the rift seems to have opened up again as Deo has not attended any sitting of the Monsoon session of the Assembly that started on July 20. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Baghel told the Assembly that he has accepted Deo’s resignation and the rural development and panchayat portfolio has been handed over to minister Ravindra Choubey, The Indian Express reported.