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T S Singh Deo says Chhattisgarh should be given justice amid Rajasthan Congress crisis

In an interview to The Indian Express, Singh Deo said, “One always feels that justice should be done.” (File Photo)

There is a full-blown crisis in Rajasthan where a Congress Legislature Party meeting for the selection of a successor to Ashok Gehlot as chief minister was canceled. T S Singh Deo, a senior Chhattisgarh Congress member and state Cabinet minister, said he was still hopeful that the state would change guards, although he would be completely subordinate to the high command.

“Justice should always be done,” Singh Deo told The Deccan Era in an interview.

The power struggle between Bhupesh Baghel and Deo in Chhattisgarh had raged for some time. A crisis erupted in July when Deo resigned the Panchayat and Rural Development portfolios, citing the non-sanctioning of funds under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana as among the reasons.

In December 2018, a formula of rotational chief ministership was agreed upon by Baghel and Deo in the presence of Rahul Gandhi when the party came to power in the state.

It had been reported in August last year that the party leadership was considering a change in leadership in Chhattisgarh, but the status quo prevailed following a show of strength by Baghel camp lawmakers. There were 51 Congress legislators in Delhi then, a figure contested by the Deo camp, who urged the central leadership not to push for changes.

Chhattisgarh Congress MLAs’ show of strength in Delhi, the rotational chief ministership formula, and his state of mind were among the topics Deo discussed with the newspaper.

When asked about the rumored rotational chief ministership formula, Deo replied, “I cannot discuss these matters publicly because some matters are discussed behind closed doors.” I must respect the sanctity of an informal agreement.” Baghel had always denied such an arrangement was reached.

As a matter of fact, it has been in circulation for quite some time. It has been two-and-a-half years since then. Almost four years have passed… three years and nine months. So, we have 1.25 years left until the next elections… But whatever the high command decides, I will certainly respect it, and I am confident that all MLAs in Chhattisgarh will respect it regardless,” Deo said.

When asked whether he was disappointed that the change of guard did not occur in Chhattisgarh, he replied, “Since that is a high command decision, I cannot comment on it.” There is always a feeling that justice should be done.”

Does he seem hopeful? That’s true. As for my position within the party, I am completely, let us say, subordinate to the decision of the high command, in the sense that everything is fluid, a flowing process, and there is one constant: the decision of the high command, direction of the high command.”

In an analysis of the Baghel camp MLAs’ display of strength in Delhi – perhaps similar to Gehlot’s display of muscle in Jaipur on Sunday – Deo said: “Even when they did, neither the high command nor the AICC in-charge gave them time to meet.”

This was already an indication and I do not think the MLAs in Chhattisgarh have breached that protocol or will in the future. I am certain that Chhattisgarh’s MLAs will respect any direction they receive from the top,” he said.

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