Haven’t Received Minister T S Singh Deo’s Resignation from Panchayat Dept: Chhattisgarh CM Baghel

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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday said he was yet to receive minister T S Singh Deo’s resignation from the panchayat department and that he learnt about the latter’s move through media. All India Congress Committee’s Chhattisgarh in-charge P L Punia, who is on a visit to the state capital Raipur since July 15, said he has spoken to AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, state CM Baghel and Singh Deo on the issue and a necessary decision will be taken on it.

Singh Deo, locked in a turf war with Baghel in the ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh, on Saturday resigned from the panchayat and rural development department. He will still remain the minister for health and family welfare, medical education, twenty point implementation and commercial tax (GST) departments.

Asked about the development, Baghel told reporters that he learnt about the minister’s move through media and after he receives the resignation letter, he will think over it. “I have not spoken to him (Singh Deo). I tried to call him last night, but he could not be contacted,” the CM said.

On the BJP’s allegations of lack of coordination in his cabinet, Baghel refuted it and said, Whatever the matter is we will sort it out by sitting together. Meanwhile, Punia said Singh Deo has requested the CM to relieve him of the panchayat department’s charge and once Baghel receives the request letter, the issue will be addressed. “Nothing has happened as of now, the Congress leader told a TV channel.

Singh Deo had in his resignation letter to the CM claimed not a single house was built for homeless people under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana as funds were not allotted despite “repeated request”. In a four-page resignation letter addressed to the chief minister, Singh Deo cited various reasons, saying he was unable to fulfil the department’s targets as per the vision of the Jan Ghoshna Patra (poll manifesto), given the “current scenario”.

On Singh Deo’s claims made in the letter, Punia said it is the minister’s experience and the CM can answer how much of it is right or wrong. “Whatever decision will be taken, it will be informed to you (media). I have discussed the issue with Singh Deo, CM and K C Venugopal ji and a necessary decision will be taken, he said. The Congress has called the state legislature party meeting at 7 pm on Sunday which will be held at the chief minister’s official residence.

Discussions would be held on the July 18 presidential poll and the state Assembly’s monsoon session scheduled to begin on July 20. The political situation after Singh Deo quit one department would also be discussed, a party leader here said. The political development in Chhattisgarh comes a year ahead of the Assembly elections in the Congress-ruled state.

It is being seen as the bitter fallout of an old political rivalry between Baghel and Singh Deo, who was seeking the chief minister’s post under a purported power-sharing agreement. In June last year, differences had flared up between Baghel and Singh Deo shortly after the CM completed his two-and-a-half years in the office.

The latest flash point between Baghel and Singh Deo seems to be coal mine projects in the Hasdeo Arand forest area of the Surguja district. In August last year, the Congress high command had summoned Baghel and Singh Deo to Delhi in a bid to resolve the power tussle. In the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly, the Congress currently has 71 MLAs, BJP 14, while the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and the Bahujan Samaj Party have three and two members, respectively.

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