RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is likely to visit Delhi on Friday, for the second time this week, to meet senior Congress leaders, party sources said on Thursday, amid reports of a continuing rift in the state unit despite he rejecting talks about a rotation of the CM’s post.
According to Congress sources here, several party MLAs who are close to Baghel have started leaving for Delhi, while two ministers and some legislators are already camping in the national capital.
Baghel had returned to Raipur from Delhi on Wednesday evening after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi held meetings with him and minister T S Singh Deo in a bid to resolve a power tussle between the two senior leaders.
Earlier in the day, over a dozen Congress legislators and functionaries held a meeting at New Circuit House in Raipur, the sources said.
“The chief minister would leave for Delhi on Friday, while Singh Deo is in Delhi,” they said.
A Congress MLA said they will discuss the situation in the state, where the party came to power in December 2018 after ending the BJP’s 15-year-long rule, with the high command.
“Under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, we (government) have been continuously serving the people of Chhattisgarh. (We) will talk to the Delhi high command about the situation (of the state),” Devendra Yadav, among the legislators who left for Delhi, told reporters at the airport here when queried about the purpose of his visit to the national capital.
Asked how many Congress MLAs are going to Delhi, Yadav, said, “all and all MLAs are united.”
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Mohan Markam denied reports that he and MLAs have been summoned to Delhi by the party high command.
“Media reports are coming that the Chhattisgarh Congress President has been called to Delhi but I wanted to confirm that neither I nor MLAs have been called by the high command. The state’s in-charge, PL Punia, has also clarified that the high command has not called any MLAs or ministers,” he said in a video message circulated on social media.
He appealed to Congress MLAs to follow directives of the high command and senior leaders and maintain party discipline.
After Rahul Gandhi’s meetings with Baghel and Singh Deo in Delhi on Tuesday, Punia had told reporters that their talks centred around development issues and not leadership change.
After arriving here from Delhi, Baghel on Wednesday had said those who are talking about “two and a half years’ (power sharing formula) are trying to bring political instability and they will never succeed.”
State Food Minister Amarjeet Bhagat had tweeted pictures of grand reception of Baghel at the airport and wrote, “those who want to destabilise the government should understand that this is the government of farmers, tribals and common people.”
When the Congress opted for Baghel for the top post following its victory in the 2018 assembly polls, there was speculation that Singh Deo, another contender in the fray, would be allowed to take over as CM after two and a half years.
Baghel completed two and a half years in office in June 2021.