New Delhi (10.03.2023): The presence of the Congress across the country has shrunk in the past decades despite every attempt being made to bring back its past glory. Efforts are still on from all across the party and by its leaders but Congressman like Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel give new hope to the party and its workers. The way Baghel has been showing a brave face and has been carrying out things for the party, they are beyond comprehension for many even in the opposition camps.
Leading from the front, he has not only shown keenness to organize the 85th Plenary of the Congress in Raipur but by successfully organizing it, he reminded Congressmen of the olden days and past glory of the Congress. Bagel was at the Centre of its successful execution who organized and managed it in such a way that he not only stood apart but emerged as one of the dependable regional Satrap for the Congress who is here to deliver without fail. Besides this event management, Baghel has constantly been providing good governance in the state and also living up to the expectation of the top brass of the party whether responsibility entrusted in Himachal Pradesh recently or elsewhere in the past.
The Chhattisgarh CM has many such qualities that make him a leader to reckon with and a hope for Congress. A Hindi-speaking, OBC leader, CM experience, politically savvy, suave, and age by his side at 61 are some of the attributes that make him a leader for the days to come. The Raipur Plenary has catapulted him in the top league when his party is struggling for electoral success and old timers are leaving the party for better deals.
Not just delivering on good governance and organizational responsibilities, Baghel has emerged as a frontline leader by taking on political adversaries while maintaining a firm grip on his home state with his pro-farmer, pro-poor schemes aimed at the socio-economic development of the rural areas. Due to this, the Congress has further gained strength in the last four years after the landslide victory in 2018 in the state. It has won all five by-polls which has made his acceptability at the national level even bigger. As the senior observer in the Himachal Pradesh election, he ensured a resounding victory. He spearheaded the poll campaign in HP with the promise to replicate some of the schemes implemented in Chhattisgarh such as the old pension scheme for government employees and procuring cow dung at Rs 2 per kg under Godhan Nyay Yojana and Cow urine at Rs 4 per liter. He actually throttled the monopolistic claim of the BJP over cow progenies.
Baghel was earlier appointed as party in-charge and observer in the Assam and Uttar Pradesh polls as well for his organizational acumen. Baghel has been promoting the ‘Chhattisgarh model’ of putting money directly in poor people’s pockets which has given a boost to the rural economy. The uplift of farmers, poor, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, who have been the core constituency of the Congress for decades, is now his core competence. Development with the humane face is being recognized both by the people of the state and the party. To say that everything is hunky dory for him in the state is little misplaced as he too faced factionalism within the party and political attacks from outside the party including alleged wrath of central investigating agencies. A power struggle broke out when he completed two and a half years in the office by senior minister T S Singhdeo staking claim for the top job on the basis of rotational chief ministership for half of the tenure i.e. 2.5 years. The power struggle went on for nearly two and a half months before it subsided.
Chhattisgarh is known as the rice bowl of India but for 18 years since it was carved out from Madhya Pradesh, farmers continued to remain in debt trap, labourers migrated to other states for jobs while women, tribals and the youth saw no betterment in their lives. The Baghel government waived loans of farmers, procured paddy at the rate of Rs 25 per quintal and farmers started getting more money. The economic condition of people, including farmers and the poor is enhanced through various schemes.
Coming back to Plenary, Baghel has drawn a bigger line with the successful organizing the convention where Hyderabad Plenary was a reference point but he has left that way behind by managing the stay of over 20000 people with no distinction of food provided at the convention. There was nothing as such VIP at the convention. Vehicles were provided to everyone to reach the ground besides every other facility and safety measures from WiFi, lounge, retiring room, fire brigade, mobile hospital and offices of the senior leaders. Everything was in place beyond imagination to anyone and its magnificence was par excellence.
So to speak there was a raze for the Chhattisgarh model of governance with books, bags and other literature being made available to delegates without anyone knowing who all had worked for the grand organisation. Enthusiastic Congress workers were so upbeat and bubbling with confidence to say that unfazed with ED raids, the confident Baghel was busy making the Plenary a grand success. He was successful at the very outset when he proposed to organise this in Raipur and got the nod from the high command. Arrest of Pawant Khera, ED raid at the premises of the businessman looking after the management of Plenary did not deter him and he made the event a success story and would be remembered in the days to come.
The gathering of over one lakh people on the last day overwhelmed the party High Command in the presence of leaders like Mallikarjuna Kharge, Priyanka Gandhi, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhkhu besides many others. Everyone from Kharge to Priyanka praised the Chhattisgarh model of governance. After a very long time there appears to be a leader in the Congress who appears to be a good strategist, manager, sharp, fearless, resourceful and well equipped. Only time will tell, how much the Congress will be benefitted by this 85th plenary but Baghel has not only won the hearts of the Congress high command and delegates but also shown his strength to the government at the Centre. The Congress can certainly count on him for its future endeavors.