The Congress on Wednesday appointed TS Singh Deo as the deputy chief minister of Chhattisgarh just months ahead of Assembly elections in the state.
The decision was taken after a meeting was held by the Congress leadership in New Delhi to discuss the poll strategy in Chhattisgarh.
The meeting was attended by Deo, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, the official in charge of the Congress in the state, Kumari Selja, and General Secretary KC Venugopal.
Deo has been locked in a turf war with Baghel since June 2021. His supporters claim that there had been an agreement under which he was to serve as the chief minister for two-and-a-half years.
In June 2022, Deo had resigned as the panchayat and rural development minister, hinting he had been sidelined in the Baghel-led government. He has also publicly expressed his displeasure at not being given an “effective role” in the party, according to The Indian Express.
On Wednesday, Venugopal said that Chhattisgarh will benefit greatly from Deo being made the deputy chief minister.
“He [Deo] is a loyal Congress leader and an able administrator,” Venugopal said in a tweet. “...We are confident that the people of Chattisgarh will re-elect the Congress with a thumping majority under the leadership of Kharge ji and Rahul Gandhi ji.”
Baghel also congratulated Deo for being appointed as his deputy. “We are ready,” he wrote in a tweet.
Selja said that the party’s strategy for the elections is to “work hand in hand” and uphold constitutional values. “It is evident that the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] has been banking on nothing but its communal agenda,” Selja said. “We can never fall into the BJP’s trap.”