Congress’ challenge in Chhattisgarh: ED and I-T Dept, not BJP, says CM Baghel


Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday said his Congress party will replace some “weak” legislators with new faces in the upcoming assembly polls and asserted that their biggest challenge in the state was to fight the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department rather than the opposition BJP.
He said there are no differences within the Chhattisgarh unit of the party and that the chief ministerial face will be decided by the party high command and everyone will abide by it.
He noted that the BJP posed no challenge to the ruling Congress and there was no anti-incumbency against his government, which has been working for the welfare of all sections of people.
“The ED and the I-T Department are powerful wings of the BJP and they are trying to create a fear psychosis ahead of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections, but they would not succeed in their endeavours,” Baghel said, referring to recent raids by these central agencies against some of his close aides.
“There is no challenge to the Congress party posed by the BJP in Chhattisgarh, but our biggest challenge is fighting the ED and the I-T Department which are acting in an undemocratic manner in the state ahead of assembly polls,” he claimed.
Baghel said the party has been carrying out surveys on the performance of MLAs and indicated that some of them may not be renominated in the upcoming polls. Party office-bearers will be consulted before finalising candidates, he said, adding winnability will be the sole criteria for candidate selection.
“It is possible that in some seats, where our candidates are weak, we could change our sitting candidates. They could be given other responsibilities. That is the party’s policy,” he said.
With the BJP having already declared 21 candidates, Baghel said the Congress will assess who among its leaders are best suited to take on them.
“We will see who is the better candidate…. It is possible that some candidates would be changed, there are 71 sitting MLAs (of Congress), it is natural that some of them are weak,” he said, without sharing details.
Asked whether the leadership issue in the state has been resolved and who will be the chief ministerial candidate, he said, “Deciding the chief minister is the prerogative of the Congress high command and everyone will abide by its decision.”
The chief minister said there is no conflict in the Chhattisgarh unit of the party.
“I have perfect relations with (deputy chief minister) T S Singh Deo and others. We had good ties earlier and even now,” he noted.
The elections to the 90-member assembly in Chhattisgarh are slated for later this year.