It’s perhaps time to reassess Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. A one-term minister in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and a successful Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee president, Baghel was obdurately anti-upper caste, impatient with bureaucracy and slow to warm up to fresh ideas and new people.

Rooted in rustic manners and deriving energy from his native intelligence, Baghel is a steadfast Congressman. He is junior to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, his own guru Digvijay Singh and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot by several years. So what’s driving him to challenge the prime minister in ways that no Congress leader has dared to?

Why is he taking on the prime minister? Will playing David against a Goliath with such cheekiness jog along his politics? Is he seeking attention or is he being led to his hara-kirialtar? Whatever the reasons behind his adrenalin, Baghel has shown unusual spunk for a Congress chief minister. Despite his initial stumbling against a bureaucratic environment, he has managed to cage the main BJP leaders which no one else in the neighbouring states has done or is even attempting to do.

Immediately on his ascension to the post of chief minister, he ordered Special Investigative Teams to probe cases against people close to ex-chief minister Raman Singh, including his son-in-law Dr Puneet Gupta, his principal secretary Aman Singh and ADG Mukesh Gupta.These probes are now coming in handy to put pressure on opponents, similar to the way that the Modi government had done through the ED and CBI. All those named above are either absconding or in court busy defending themselves rather than attacking Baghel or the Congress.

Of the lot, only Aman Singh appears to be in the clear as far as court cases or allegations being probed are concerned. A careful bureaucrat, Aman had been the backbone of the Raman Singh government but was never directly embroiled in any controversy or scam. But the cases and probes always put a brake on life as Kamal Nath and his team are experiencing in Madhya Pradesh.