New Delhi: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday gave his approval to the proposal of appointing senior party leader T.S. Singhdeo as the Deputy Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, thus resolving the ongoing conflict within the state. This decision brings an end to the power struggle in the poll-bound region.
Announcing the decision, Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal said: "Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge ji has approved the proposal for appointment of TS Singh Deoji as the Deputy Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh."
"He is a loyal Congress leader and an able administrator. The state will benefit greatly from his services as Deputy CM. We are confident that the people of Chattisgarh will re-elect the Congress with a thumping majority under the leadership of Kharge ji and Rahul Gandhi ji."
The decision was reached following an extensive discussion at Kharge's residence, involving Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, state incharge Kumari Selja, state unit chief Mohan Markam, and senior minister Tamradhwaj Sahu. Also present in the meeting was Venugopal.
Earlier in the day, Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, and Venugopal convened a meeting with Chhattisgarh leaders to strategize for the upcoming state elections, scheduled to take place by the end of the year.
Soon after the decision was announced, Baghel congratulated Singhdeo. "We are ready. Congratulations and best wishes to Maharaj Sahab for the new responsibility as Deputy Chief Minister", he said in a tweet in Hindi, attaching a photo of both of them.
TS Singh Deo, reacting to his appointment, said, "First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for this responsibility given to me by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge...We have to go ahead by taking everyone together and try to complete the work in the limited time we have (until the State election)..."
Singhdeo's elevation after longstanding beef with Baghel
The elevation of the Health Minister to the position of Deputy Chief Minister is seen as a step towards reconciling the strained relationship between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo ahead of the Chhattisgarh assembly polls.
Previously, CM Baghel and TS Singh Deo had been engaged in a prolonged power struggle over the CM's position, with the Health Minister publicly stating on multiple occasions that an agreement had been reached in the presence of the high command. However, CM Baghel has publicly denied the existence of any such agreement.
The ongoing disagreements between these veteran Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh have further strained their relations, which has also become a concern for the Congress High Command, who desires the stability of the government in the state.
Nevertheless, the recent development appears to be an effort to mend the relations and project a sense of unity within the party to the public.