Core panel to check Cong in­fight­ing

CH­HAT­TIS­GARH Lead­ers raise voice against state unit chief Baghel

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - Ritesh Mishra Ritesh.Mishra@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■ ■

RAIPUR: In­fight­ing among se­nior Ch­hat­tis­garh Congress lead­ers is mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion dif­fi­cult for the party in the two-phase Novem­ber assem­bly elec­tions, caus­ing the party high com­mand to form a ‘core com­mit­tee’ to keep a check on state unit chief Bhu­pesh Baghel who, too, is part of the panel.

Baghel is at the cen­tre of the lat­est squab­ble in the state Congress. He was re­cently re­leased on bail in a case in­volv­ing a mor­phed sleaze CD that con­tained a pur­ported clip of a Ch­hat­tis­garh min­is­ter.

Baghel was again in the news af­ter a news chan­nel aired a video clip on Oc­to­ber 2 in which a party leader was heard talk­ing to Baghel about a “CD of PL Pu­nia” and bar­gain­ing for two seats. Pu­nia, who is the All In­dia Congress Com­mit­tee in-charge of Ch­hat­tis­garh, did not re­spond to phone calls and a text mes­sage.

The two episodes pre­cede polls to the 90-mem­ber state assem­bly due on Novem­ber 12 and 20 in which the Congress is seek­ing to end the 15-year ten­ure of the BJP. Sur­fac­ing of the CDs hurt Ch­hat­tis­garh Congress po­lit­i­cally.

Af­ter the CD was re­leased on so­cial me­dia, se­nior lead­ers of Congress in Ch­hat­tis­garh voiced their con­cerns against Baghel. The top brass of the state Congress united against him. On Oc­to­ber 4, about a dozen se­nior lead­ers of Ch­hat­tis­garh were sum­moned to Delhi, where in front of Congress cen­tral lead­ers, they op­posed Baghel. The Congress on Thurs­day an­nounced the for­ma­tion of a core com­mit­tee to man­age the party’s func­tion­ing. The panel com­prises all se­nior Congress lead­ers in Ch­hat­tis­garh.

“The core com­mit­tee has been set up to put a check on Baghel...,” said a se­nior Congress leader.

Baghel claimed the per­ceived in­fight­ing was BJP pro­pa­ganda. “Chief min­is­ter Ra­man Singh is him­self spread­ing these kind of ru­mours be­cause he knows he is los­ing this elec­tion,” he said.

Ch­hat­tis­garh BJP spokesper­son Sacchi­nand Upasane said in­fight­ing within the state unit of the Congress was a fact. Po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Ashok To­mar said it was a fact Baghel was ig­nor­ing se­nior Congress lead­ers in the state and was per­ceived to be “ar­ro­gant”.

HT FILE

■ The Congress high com­mand has formed a ‘core com­mit­tee’ to keep a check on state unit chief Bhu­pesh Baghel.

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