Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday evening left for Delhi where he is scheduled to meet senior party leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, on Tuesday. The CM's visit to the national capital where state's Health Minister TS Singh Deo has also reached this afternoon from Bhopal is being linked to the purported two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula for the chief minister's post in the state's ruling Congress.
Talking to reporters at the Swami Vivekanand airport before taking off for Delhi, Baghel did not divulge the agenda for the meetings in Delhi. After a long time, I am going to Delhi. (Last month) I visited Himachal Pradesh to take part in the funeral of Virbhadra Singh ji as a representative of Sonia Gandhi during which I met Priyanka (returning to Delhi). This time the meeting is with Rahul Gandhi. There will also be a meeting with AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal and state's incharge PL Punia, Baghel replied when queried about the purpose of his visit.
When asked whether Singh Deo will also be present during the meeting with Gandhi, he said, “I have information of meeting with Rahul ji only.”
When contacted and asked whether he will be meeting senior party leaders in Delhi, Singh Deo said over the phone that he was not aware of it as of now and state’s incharge PL Punia will convey to him about it.
“We don’t know. Punia ji is the person entrusted with this. He is in touch with the high command. It’s for him to convey. We are waiting for his message…I have informed Punia ji that I am in Delhi and I suppose we will get conveyed in the morning (about a meeting),” he said.
The Baghel government completed two-and-a-half years in power in July this year and speculations are rife that the power-sharing formula is likely to be discussed during the CM"s meetings with senior party leaders scheduled on Tuesday.
Sharing the CM"s post on a rotational basis has been a buzz in the state’s political circles after Congress came to power in December 2018. At that time, Baghel and his two senior cabinet colleagues TS Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu were the leading contenders for the CM post.
When Baghel took oath as Chief Minister on December 17, 2018, Deo and Sahu were sworn in as cabinet ministers. As per speculations, a consensus was reached for the CM’s post based on a two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula between Baghel and Deo.
Whenever asked about the power-sharing formula, the chief minister had replied that he would vacate the post if the party high-command wants him to.