Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday said that the Congress government in the state is “safe" with the support of 70 MLAs, as he landed at the Delhi airport.
“There may be a meeting with Rahul Gandhi today (Friday). The government is safe with 3/4th majority, we have 70 MLAs," Baghel said.
A total of eight ministers and 31 MLAs are currently in Delhi. Baghel is likely to hand over a list to Rahul Gandhi of 55 MLAs, who are backing him.
The MLAs will meet Congress general secretary K C Venugopal at AICC at 4pm.
The meeting comes as rift in the state unit continues despite he rejecting talks about a rotation of the CM’s post.
Before leaving for the national capital, Baghel had said, “I received a message from KC Venugopal that I have to meet Rahul ji in Delhi today, so I am going there to meet party high command."
State minister Amarjeet Bhagat, meanwhile, vouched for Baghel. “Only when the team is not doing well it is required to change the captain of the team. Bhupesh Baghel is doing very well in the state."
According to sources, some legislators are already camping in Delhi. A source said that these MLAs met state in-charge PL Punia. Another source said that they left a day after more than a dozen Congress MLAs and office bearers held a meeting at Raipur’s New Circuit House.
“We’ve been serving people of Chhattisgarh, under the leadership of CM Bhupesh Baghel. We will speak with the High Command about the situation here," Congress MLA Devendra Yadav was quoted as saying by ANI.
Raipur, Chhattisgarh: A large number of Congress MLAs, incl 3 state ministers, leave for Delhi"We've been serving people of Chhattisgarh, under the leadership of CM Bhupesh Baghel. We will speak with the High Command about the situation here," says Devendra Yadav, Congress MLA. pic.twitter.com/FQi9bQsPBg
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2021
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 power tussle between the two senior leaders.
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.