Mahant is acting Chhattisgarh Cong prez

The Congress on Monday appointed Union Minister of State for Agriculture Charan Das Mahant acting Pradesh Congress Committee president of the poll-bound Chhattisgarh, a week after the unit’s former chief Nand Kumar Patel was killed by Maoists in a ghastly attack.

The announcement by the Congress indicates that 58-year-old Mahant, former state Congress chief, would lead the party in the Assembly polls, to be held by the year-end. Mahant is considered close to AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh.

Former state minister Bhupesh Baghel has been made the programme coordinator of the Chhattisgarh state unit.

The appointments have come a day after the AICC announced that the party would resume the “Parivartan Yatra” during which the Maoist attack had taken place.

Mahant, an OBC leader, had emerged as one of the strongest contenders to lead the party in the forthcoming election. Former chief minister Ajit Jogi was also a strong contender.

Mahant was aggressive against the ruling BJP government in the state as he has been demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Raman Singh since the Maoist attack.

Digvijay Singh, who always differed with others on the issue of anti-Maoist operations, is likely to meet the family of Mahendra Karma, the slain Salwa Judum leader.

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