Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel will retain his seat for now though the power tussle in the state is far from over. After a three-hour-long meeting with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Baghel said: “I have told Rahul Gandhi my dil ki baat (heart’s desire). He is coming to Chhattisgarh next week and will visit Bastar to see the work done by the government.”

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel greetsCongress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhion Friday | Special ArrangementSources said the decision came after Priyanka backed Baghel, an OBC leader, while Rahul insisted that he abide by the promise made to T S Singh Deo. A senior party leader said Priyanka was of the view that changing Baghel just ahead of the crucial Assembly elections, especially Uttar Pradesh, will not go down well with the backward class vote bank. 

Flanked by party incharge for the state P L Punia, Baghel did not give a direct response to the claim of rotational CM by his cabinet colleague Deo.  “The problem is not over yet and the party would have to address Deo’s concerns. Rahul ji’s proposed visit needs to be also looked at from that perspective,” said a state party leader.        

In a show of strength, Baghel came to Delhi along with over 50 MLAs and met Congress leaders K C Venugopal and Punia. The MLAs from the Baghel camp were at the AICC headquarters during the day and the CM met them after his meeting with Rahul. “Rahul ji has accepted an invitation to visit Bastar given by the CM. There are no differences between the two leaders,” Punia told this newspaper.