After a major organisational rejig in the Congress and cabinet reshuffle in party-ruled Rajasthan and Punjab recently, political analysts now wonder whether a power-sharing arrangement will be worked out in Chhattisgarh soon. It’s already in the public domain that the tribal-dominated state Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Health Minister TS Singh Deo locked in a battle of nerves over sharing of power for months.
It was widely rumored that Baghel could be replaced in Chhattisgarh following a power-sharing formula of 2.5 years in June this year, which eventually did not turn out to be the case.
After several visits to Delhi in the last few months to meet the Congress high command, both Baghel and Deo were in the national capital recently but on different instances. Baghel met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on November 12, the same day when party leader Sachin Pilot was summoned to meet Gandhi and discuss the ‘cabinet reshuffle’.
The war of words though has subsided between Baghel and Singh Deo but the tension is palpable. The situation has turned worse when one of the Chhattisgarh Congress leaders, Pawan Agrawal, seen close to Deo was heckled on the stage by other leaders in Jashpur.
However, many still believe that Baghel is growing his clout, especially he has been pushed as OBC poser boy ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. According to sources, the party high command has asked the warring factions of the state unit to put to rest all the grievances until the crucial Uttar Pradesh polls are over. Deo too has toned down on leadership issues of late. Meanwhile, Baghel was appointed as senior observer for the UP polls due in the next few months.
Reacting to reports on expected cabinet reshuffle in Chhattisgarh, Congress media coordinator Sushil Anand Shukla said things are different in the state as compared to Punjab and Rajasthan as here the government enjoys a 3/4th majority in the assembly. PCC head Mohan Markam has formed his team and he is due to make some organisational appointments shortly, said Shukla, adding as far as things like cabinet reshuffle are concerned, it was always a prerogative of the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Sanjay Shrivastava said the state though is seeing a one-man show but there is anger among the public and even among Congress workers so the changes could take place. He added a shake-up seems unlikely for the time being but it will happen at some point in time.
Political observers have mixed reactions. A political commentator from Chhattisgarh has predicted the Rajasthan-like cabinet reshuffle in Chhattisgarh soon in near future, saying it will have a better power balance in the Congress government.
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