'Will quit CM post moment Sonia, Rahul ask me to do so'

Will quit Chhattisgarh CM post moment Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi ask me to do so: Bhupesh Baghel

According to sources in the Congress, the differences between Baghel and his rival, Deo, would be soon resolved

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Credit: PTI File Photo

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have entrusted him with the responsibility of running the state government and he will quit the moment they ask him to do so.

On his return to Raipur, a day after meeting Rahul Gandhi in Delhi, he also said that those seeking rotation of the CM's post are creating political instability in the state.

Baghel was accorded a rousing reception on his arrival at the Raipur airport by a large crowd of supporters who had gathered there, displaying a show of strength.

Chief Minister Baghel and Chhattisgarh Health Minister T S Singh Deo on Wednesday morning separately met All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal amid an on ongoing power tussle between them.

Sources said that Bhagel and Deo held consultations with Venugopal over the alleged differences between them, besides development issues in Chhattisgarh.

The two Chhattisgarh Congress leaders are likely to hold further deliberations with the AICC leadership in the near future, they added.

Also Read | Rahul Gandhi meets Baghel, Singh Deo after internal rumblings in Chhattisgarh

"I have said in the past that when the high command orders, I will quit the post. No one should have any doubt. Those who are talking about two and a half years, they are trying to bring political instability and they will never succeed," Bhagel told reporters at the airport.

"As far as the incumbent state government is concerned, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have entrusted the responsibility to a farmer like me. I am happy about it. This government is of farmers, tribals, labourers and 2.8 crore people of the state. The government is functioning well," he said.

Deo has claimed that according to an agreement made after the Congress came to power in Chhattisgarh in 2018, he should have got the the chief minister's post after 2.5 years. Bhagel has denied the claim.

According to sources in the Congress, the differences between Baghel and his rival, Deo, would be soon resolved.

Earlier at the aiport, slogans such as 'Chhattisgarh ada hua hai, CM Bhupesh Baghel ke sang khada hua hai' (Chhattisgarh is adamant, it is standing with Chief Minister Baghel) were raised by his supporters as he arrived.

Bhagel said he met Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary Venugopal and Congress' Chhattisgarh in-charge P L Punia and held discussions on the "state government's schemes, development and political situation" and "they were apprised of the situation in Chhattisgarh".

"Punia ji has already clarified (about the rumours of leadership change). After his statement, is there anything more left to be said?" the chief minister asked.

After Rahul Gandhi's meetings with Baghel and Deo in Delhi on Tuesday, Punia had told reporters that they discussed development issues and not the leadership change.

Asked about opposition BJP's demand for clarification on the issue of rotation of the chief minister's post, Baghel said it was worried because there was a "farmers' government" in Chhattisgarh.

"The son of a farmer is the chief minister, whom they (BJP) consider as their biggest challenge.. The BJP has no answer to the culture of Chhattisgarh," he said.

The BJP was in power from 2003 to 2018, but now it is reduced to 14 seats in the 90-member state assembly, he said.

Asked about the slogans in his favour at the airport, Baghel said everyone was raising slogans in favour of "Sonia-ji, Rahul-ji and the Congress party".

When the Congress opted for Baghel for the top post following its victory in the 2018 assembly polls, there was speculation that Deo, another contender in the fray, would be allowed to take over after half the term.

Baghel completed two and a half years in office in June 2021.

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