Baghel Congress’ likely pick for Chhattisgarh CM

Bhupesh Baghel sworn in as Chhattisgarh's 3rd CM
Bhupesh Baghel. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi: December 15: Bhupesh Baghel, who is credited with playing a crucial role in a landslide victory of the Congress in Chhattisgarh, is understood to have been picked as the party’s choice for Chief Ministership and a formal announcement in this regard is expected on Sunday.

This emerged after hectic parleys between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and four contenders in the race for the CM post– Bhupesh Baghel, T.S. Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant, at his residence here.

Congress’ central observer Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress in-charge for party affairs in Chhattisgarh P.L. Punia were also present at the meeting.

Reliable sources said the leadership issue has been sorted out and name would be formally announced at the meeting of newly-elected legislators in Raipur on Sunday. The sources also dismissed reports that one of the contenders, Sahu, threatened to quit the party if he was not made the Chief Minister.

The sources also indicated that unlike Rajasthan, there would be no deputy chief minister.

Representing Patan Assembly constituency in Durg district, Baghel is the President of Chhattisgarh Congress since October 2014.

Punia said the meeting of the newly-elected lawmakers will be held at 12 p.m on Sunday and the name of the new Chief Minister will be announced thereafter.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi tweeted a picture of himself flanked by all the four claimants to the post, hinting at the end of tussle over who would be the next Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh.

Posting pictures of Baghel, Deo, Sahu and Mahant — Gandhi quoted American internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman saying: “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

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The Congress President had earlier tweeted similar pictures of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Kamal Nath and his rival claimant to the post Jyotiraditya Scindia as well as Rajasthan Chief Minister-designate Ashok Gehlot and his state party chief Sachin Pilot who has been named as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Before the announcements of Kamal Nath and Gehlot as the Chief Ministers of their respective states, there had been power jockeying between the rival camps, with both Scindia and Pilot strongly advocating their stake to the post. (IANS)