In Chhattisgarh, CM and his deputy have different takes on Centre’s relation with state

NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and his deputy T S Singh Deo seem to be on different planes when it comes to their assessment of the BJP-led Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
On Thursday, Chhattisgarh deputy chief minister T S Singh Deo, who shared stage with Prime Minister Modi in Raigarh, said the Centre has not been biased towards states.”In my experience, I haven’t felt biases. If we, as state governments, have worked and sought anything from the Centre, it has cooperated. I believe we will take this state and country forward together with mutual cooperation,” Singh Deo said asPM Modi acknowledged the rare praise from a Congress leader in recent times.

Modi Singh Deo

The deputy chief minister also praised the Prime Minister for development works in Chhattisgarh
“I am fortunate to have got the opportunity to welcome PM Modi on the soil of Chhattisgarh. The inauguration being done by the Prime Minister will definitely give impetus to the development of Chhattisgarh state. Various development works are being done through the Centre, in future also we will continue to work together in the fields of education, health etc.,” T S Singh Deo said.

‘ED being used to defame Chhattisgarh government

However, his assessment and praise for the Centre are in complete contrast to what chief minister Baghel said in the last week of August.
Baghel alleged that the Modi government at the Centre was using ED and I-T raids in a malicious attempt to intimidate him and defame and suppress the state government.
“An attempt is being made to suppress and defame the Chhattisgarh government. The BJP started this after losing the Jharkhand elections in July 2020. They were silent for two and a half years, but have become active again as the elections are approaching,” Baghel said at a press conference after ED raided his close aides in alleged money laundering case.

The Chhattisgarh CM further said that the probe agencies are alleging scams to the tune of Rs 2,168 crore in the state, which they have been unable to prove, as assets recovered in raids make up for only a fraction of that sum.
“What does the ED do? ED people go to people’s houses, confiscate mobiles, seize jewellery and cash in their bank accounts. Then they keep the whole family hostage for several days and ask political questions,” he said, adding, “first the IT raided, then ED entered. Their aim is only to defame the government.”
Baghel also claimed that before the assembly elections, a team of 250 IT people will conduct more raids against his close associates to intimidate him.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi along with Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel at Rajiv Yuva mitan samellan, Raipur

‘Release Rs 6,000 crore due to Chhattisgarh’
The Chhattisgarh chief minister had earlier also accused the Centre of not releasing outstanding payments to the state government.
On August 26, he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the release Rs 6,000 crore due to the state agencies related to rice under the decentralized procurement scheme.
The “Government of India/Food Corporation of India” is yet to release outstanding payments of around Rs 6,000 crore to the state agencies, the letter claimed. The state government has to bear a huge financial burden in disposal of paddy left after depositing rice in the central pool (through FCI) and the Centre does not compensate the state for this disposal of surplus paddy, Baghel pointed out. In view of the seriousness of the situation, the prime minister should direct the concerned authorities to settle all outstanding payments in a time-bound manner, Baghel’s letter said.

Grateful to Congress high command for opportunity: Deo on being named Chhattisgarh deputy CM

‘Baghel government indulging in cow dung scam’
With elections in the state few months away, the BJP has been relentless in its attacks against the Congress government.
During the Raigarh function, PM Modi accused the Baghel government of indulging in cow dung scam.
“Imagine the mentality of a person who practices corruption in cow dung,” the Prime Minister questioned speaking at a public event in Raigarh.
Slamming the Congress government, the Prime Minister said, “The kind of scams the Congress practices, fills up the coffers of their leaders. Though they have fallen back in poverty alleviation, the Congress government is moving forward in corruption.”
“We wanted to stop liquor sales in Chhattisgarh but the Congress started scam in liquor sale itself…The mineral wealth of Chhattisgarh is being used as Congress’ ATM. False propaganda and rampant corruption are the hallmarks of the Congress government in Chhattisgarh,” he added.
Earlier this month, Union home minister Amit Shah released an “Arop Patra” (chargesheet) against the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh accusing it of indulging in scams and loot, and committing atrocities against the people of the state.

Watch how Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel handled the situation when a snake appeared during press briefing

Shah alleged that the Baghel-led government has broken all records of corruption. “I have never seen such anarchy in administration in which (district) collectors have become collectors of corruption money. Such kind of administration cannot develop Chhattisgarh,” Amit Shah claimed.
The BJP has also launched mass contact programme ‘Parivartan Yatra’ against the ruling Congress government.
Flagging off the second Parivartan Yatra in the state, BJP chief J P Nadda said it is aimed at exposing the corruption of Baghel government, ousting Congress from power in Chhattisgarh.

Amit Shah releases ‘Aarop Patra’ against Chhattisgarh Govt

CWC to deliberate on poll strategy
The Congress on the other hand is leaving no stone unturned to retain power in the state. The first meeting of the reconstituted Congress Working Committee under Mallikarjun Kharge’s presidency will deliberate on evolving a strategy for the upcoming assembly polls in five states and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
In Chhattigarh, the grand old party has managed to quell dissidence after appointing T S Singh Deo as deputy chief minister.
For a long time, T S Singh Deo was unhappy at being denied the CM’s chair. His supporters had claimed that there was an agreement for rotational chief ministership in the state after the victory in the last assembly elections.
The BJP, which was in power in the state since 2003, suffered a crushing defeat in the 2018 assembly polls at the hands of the Congress, which won 68 seats in the 90-member House.
The BJP could win just 15 seats. The saffron party is eager to make a strong comeback in Chhattisgarh and will certainly not mind a rare praise from a Congress deputy chief minister of the state.
(With inputs from agencies)

PM Modi attends BJP CEC meeting on MP and Chhattisgarh polls

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