Congress will not be impacted by Jyotiraditya Scindia's exit and Sachin Pilot's rebellion, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has said, as he attacked the BJP alleging it is no more a party of ethics and character and "can do anything, anywhere".
Baghel said Pilot became an MP at 26 years of age, then a Union Minister and state Congress Committee chief. "What more can a party give?" he asked.
He was referring to the political turmoil in Rajasthan after Pilot and 18 other MLAs revolted against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who alleged that the rebels had along with the BJP conspired to topple his government.
The BJP has dismissed the allegations and claimed that the trouble in the Congress was due to the Gehlot-Pilot power struggle.
"The BJP is power hungry to such an extent that it can do anything, anywhere. Where they had one or two MLAs they have made government. They can go to any level. The era of Atal and Advani (former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani) has gone and there are no ethics and character in the party," Baghel alleged.
Without taking any names, the chief minister said there were attempts at blackmailing by some opportunists in the party.
"These opportunists or those indulging in the politics of blackmailing should remember that it is not good for the country's democracy. "Scindia ke saath bhi kuch to majboori rahi hogi, yun hi koi bewafa nahin hota' (there must have been some compulsion with Scindia else nobody turns disloyal)," the Congress leader told PTI.
Asked whether the Congress needed to contemplate over the young leaders quitting or taking to revolt, he quipped, "We are also young leaders. We have not grown old:.
"We don't need to contemplate. Congress will not be affected due to this (party leaders leaving it or revolting)," the 58-year-old leader said.
He said it is not the leaders but the people who are the strongest in a democracy.
"They make a candidate win or lose. People are keeping an account of everything. Those who are opportunist should know this," Baghel said.
To a question whether he was trying to avoid a repeat of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by appointing party leaders to various corporations and commissions in the state, he said the process for these appointments had started long back.
"The process started before the Rajasthan thing happened. We had a discussion with party chief Sonia Gandhi. She had come. We have been meeting and the exercise for appointment was on for some time. We did not know that the BJP will engage in horse trading there (Rajasthan)," Baghel said.
The Congress government in Chhattisgarh last week appointed 32 party leaders including four MLAs and some former lawmakers to top positions of various boards, corporations and commissions. He had also recently appointed 15 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
The Congress won the 2018 Assembly elections with 68 seats in Chhattisgarh, which has 90 constituencies. In September last year, the Congress won Dantewada Assembly constituency bypolls increasing its tally to 69.
Assembly elections were held around the same time in 2018 in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as well.
The Congress won the three BJP-ruled states and formed its government. However, in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath had to resign as chief minister in March after Scindia left the party along with a group of MLAs and joined the BJP.
Asked if he apprehends any similar development in Chhattisgarh, Baghel said, "I am mindful and alert".