Senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel was sworn in as the chief minister of Chhattisgargh on Monday. Governor Anandiben Patel also administered the oath to legislators TS Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu, who were among the front runners for the chief minister’s post, at a ceremony in Raipur’s Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium.
Soon after he was sworn in, Baghel announced his administration’s decision to waive loans worth Rs 6,100 crore of 16.65 lakh farmers. He said the government was fulfilling Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s election campaign promise to waive farmers’ loans within 10 days of taking power. “Minimum Support Price for maize will be increased from Rs 1,700 per quintal to Rs 2,500,” Baghel added.
He said a special investigation team would conduct inquiries into the Jhiram Ghati attack of 2013 in which a number of senior Congress leaders were killed. “A total of 29 people including prominent leaders like Nand Kumar Patel were killed,” Baghel added. “The conspirators have not been exposed.”
Earlier in the evening, the chief minister told the the Hindustan Times that the Maoist insurgency in the state is a politico-economic problem that cannot be eradicated by security forces. “If we deal with it as a law and order problem, it can expand further,” he added. “We have to create trust among the tribals of Bastar. We have to talk to them.”
Baghel told the Hindustan Times that the Congress government “will impose a ban on outsourcing in government jobs with proper planning to facilitate more job creations”. He claimed his party would be able to deliver its election promises within 10 days. “If any financial hurdle comes we will deal it and the promises will be fulfilled,” he added.
Baghel said his predecessor Raman Singh lost the elections as he had failed to address the needs of farmers, peasants and workers. “Massive corruption took place in his reign,” Baghel added. “All these things went against him and the people voted against the government.”
The Congress swept Chhattisgarh in the Assembly elections, winning 68 out of 90 seats to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had been in power for 15 years. Baghel won from Patan by 27,477 votes.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Raman Singh, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh attended the oath-taking ceremony. Other top political leaders present at the ceremony were National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin, Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav.
Baghel was named the chief minister after days of speculations and meetings between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the front-runners for the post at his residence in New Delhi.
Earlier in the day, Ashok Gehlot was sworn-in as the chief minister of Rajasthan, and Sachin Pilot as his deputy. Around 2.30 pm, Kamal Nath took oath as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress emerged the single-largest party, falling two seats short of a majority in both.