- Bhupesh Baghel was among 4 contenders for the top job
- Mr Baghel and others had met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Saturday
- Congress defeated BJP in Chhattisgarh polls, won 68 of 90 assembly seats
Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel, the man who led the team that inflicted the BJP's worst defeat in this set of assembly elections, will get the top job in the state. He and his counterparts in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will take oath as chief ministers in three back-to-back ceremonies on Monday, seen as a mega show of opposition unity ahead of the national elections next year. Mr Gandhi will attend all the events.
While the meet to take a call on the job is being held now, a hint of which way the Congress chief is leaning came in his tweet yesterday, which had a photo Rahul Gandhi will all four state leaders, captioned with a quote from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman that praised teamwork.
Compared to the two other states - Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh - where the Congress fell a shade short of target and had to take the help of Mayawati to reach majority, Chhattisgarh was a shock defeat for the party. Where the BJP was hoping for a fourth term for Raman Singh -- one of its most popular Chief Ministers - the party could get only 15 of the state's 90 seats, way behind 68 of the Congress.
Senior Congress leader TS Sing Deo, the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, had pointed out that no party with divisions in its ranks, can achieve such a victory.
Mr Singh Deo and Mr Baghel, two of the four contenders for the top job, had met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Saturday. The other two were Tamradhwaj Sahu, the party's lone parliamentarian in the state, and senior leader Charan Das Mahant. Several rounds of discussion were held, at the end of which, the party chief tweeted the image with a quote.
No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you're playing a solo game, you'll always lose out to a team.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 15, 2018
- Reid Hoffman pic.twitter.com/TL5rPwiCDX
Party sources said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were also present at the Congress chief's residence.
The Congress tweet today said:
Celebrations are in order in Chhattisgarh as @Bhupesh_Baghel is appointed CM. We wish him the best as he forms a govt. of equality, transparency & integrity starting off with farm loan waiver for farmers as we promised. pic.twitter.com/7OqGcPi2eh— Congress (@INCIndia) December 16, 2018
Mr Baghel, who had taken charge of the state Congress in 2014, is credited with rebuilding the party after most of the state leadership was wiped out in a Maoist attack in May 2013.
He was also the one said to be who was instrumental in getting the state's former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi and his son Amit Jogi out of the party.
A few months ago, Mr Baghel was caught in controversy over a sex CD. Arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly distributing the CD, he was refused bail. Mr Baghel has denied the allegation, saying it was politically motivated.
Mr Baghel's oath ceremony has been planned for 4:30 pm on Monday, after that of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh.