BHAGEL AS CM: OBC face of Congress in Chhattisgarh selected as CM by party leadership in Delhi


RAIPUR: The lot for chief minister post in Chhattisgarh fell on PCC president Bhupesh Bhagel, an OBC face of the Congress in the state. The party’s decision was announced after a legislature party meeting here, which took place after the name of Bhagel was cleared by the party chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi after due consultations with state leaders.

With this, the Congress has successfully solved the leadership puzzle for new governments in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which it won in the present round of assembly polls to five states. The other two states, Mizoram and Telangana, will have regional parties forming governments.

Among the leaders who were present in Delhi for consultations with the central leadership were Leader of Opposition in the outgoing assembly TS Singhdeo, Lok Sabha MP Tamradhwaj Sahu and another contender, Charan Das Manant.

Fiftyseven-year-old Bhagel hails from the Kurmi caste, OBC, from Durg. He was transport minister in Digvijaya Singh’s government in Madhya Pradesh and later in Ajit Jogi’s Chhattisgarh cabinet.

The Congress is returning to power in the state after 15 years of oblivion in the Opposition benches. BJP’s outgoing chief minister Raman Singh’s free rice for the poor had been a major draw among the large sections of the poor in the state. But, the governance left much to be desired. The anti-incumbency wave threw the BJP and Raman Singh out of power this time.

The Congress concentrated on the OBC votes this time — the Kurmis and Sahus who together form nearly 4o per cent of the electorate, mostly farmers spread over rural areas. 

The Congress won 68 seats in the 90-member assembly, reducing the size of the BJP to 15, while BSP has two seats and Ajit Jogi’s JCC five seats. –IHN-NN

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