If there is one state that Congress can claim to have stable government in the country, it is Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel Government with 69 seats. But some recent events in Chhattisgarh and also what has been happening recently in Rajasthan and MP has rung alarm bells in the Congress high command who rushed Digvijay Singh on a swift tour to Raipur.
Speculations were rife from a long time about sulking of TS Singh Deo, the second-in-command of Congress in Chhattisgarh. It is widely believed that Singh Deo had been promised the CM post under 2.5 years formula of Rahul Gandhi for the second half of Congress term in the state. But after the debacle of 2019 elections and ‘symbolic’ stepping down of Rahul Gandhi, the Baghel – Singh Deo rift has been growing apart.
In March, the Chief Minister had a meeting on coronavirus pandemic at his residence but TS Singh Deo, who also happens to be the Health Minister was not invited. This was followed by almost competing corona measures between the both. Singh Deo had been sidelined from various projects of which one of the most prominent is the Godhan Yojna where Govt intends to buy cow dung from people and sell back to them as organic manure.
In a separate incident, he expressed anger over alleged lacklustre police handling of an attempted suicide case. Moreover, shock waves were sent when he offered to resign if electoral promises made by his Govt are not fulfilled before the next crop is due. Few days back, he tweeted his displeasure at the pain of the unemployed.
सभी बेरोज़गार शिक्षा कर्मियों, विद्या मितान, प्रेरकों एवं अन्य युवाओं की पीड़ा से मैं बहुत दुखी और शर्मिंदा हूँ। जन घोषणा पत्र के माध्यम से जो वायदा आपको किया था, मैं उस पर अटल हूं।— TS Singh Deo (@TS_SinghDeo) June 30, 2020
यही विश्वास दिला रहा हूँ कि सरकार प्रयास कर रही है। हम आपके साथ हैं और साथ रहेंगे।
There are other factions too which seem dissatisfied with Bhupesh Baghel Government. Speaker Charandas Mahant is unhappy being ignored and state PCC chief Mohan Markam is openly whining to reporters for removal of bureaucrats of his own government. Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu has no say in most matters. The MLAs are complaining about implementation of flagship schemes or roads. In a healthy democracy, there is always room for feedback and criticism but when in happens openly in public with far greater frequency, then the seriousness of dissent should be considered.
Perhaps to avoid a possible MP-Rajasthan – like situation, Congress has offered to dangle some carrots in the form of posts of 15 Parliamentary Secretary and 32 posts in state-run Boards and Corporations. While this appears to be an appeasement move, BJP has vehemently expressed its opposition and called the move unconstitutional.
Yet the dissatisfaction continues. The disconnect from Delhi does not help. So, when Digvijay Singh had separate meetings with Bhupesh Baghel, TS Singh Deo and Charandas Mahant, it raised eyebrows. Interestingly, Digvijay Singh also had meeting Amit Jogi, son of late Ajit Jogi who had formed a new party JCP, giving ripples to rumours about possible amalgamation of Jogi Congress into its original party. But when you have the problem of plenty, should you really add more power centres?
In spite of running only a few states, the Congress is digging wells for water only when fire is imminent. The central leadership is absent and the state leaders are left to fend for themselves with high level of disconnect with the Central leadership.
Remember the famous series of photographs of Rahul Gandhi with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia and then Gehlot and Sachin Pilot when he seemed to resolve CM question in MP and Rajasthan soon after election results? The next in the series was his picture with Chhattisgarh leaders.
Who knows that photograph series was jinxed?