Baghel was perhaps the only Congress leader who dared to take on Ajit Jogi.
Raipur: Chief minister-designate Bhupesh Baghel has proved himself a daring and courageous fighter by steering Congress to a landslide victory in Chhattisgarh braving all odds and adverse situations.
Fifty-seven-year Mr Baghel took over the reign of the party in Chhattisgarh in January, 2013 when morale of the Congress cadres was at its lowest ebb following twin-tragedy it faced in form of massacre of 27 leaders of party being massacred in a Naxal ambush in Jheeram Ghati in Bastar district in the state barely six months ago and third successive defeat of the party in the assembly elections a month back.
The never-say-die Mr Baghel, a post-graduate from Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University in Raipur, faced the challenges head-on after giving a war cry against his ex-party colleague Ajit Jogi and former chief minister and BJP strongman Raman Singh, who Congress had identified as bottlenecks in its return to power in the state.
Mr Baghel was perhaps the only Congress leader who dared to take on Mr Jogi, considered as the most powerful leader in the party in Chhattisgarh then because of his purported proximity to the party high command, and later ensured exit of Mr Jogi and the latter’s son Amit from the party. He ruthlessly curbed infighting in the party by showing supporters of Mr Jogi the door.
Mr Jogi later founded Janata Congress Chhattisgarh after breaking away from Congress in 2016 following Mr Baghel’s aggressive and courageous leadership.
He braved all kinds of threats while pressing for a CBI probe into the 2013 massacre of 27 Congress leaders in Jheeram Ghati by Naxals in Bastr district in Chhattisgarh as he suspected a political conspiracy in the gruesome incident.
Mr Baghel had hit the streets from the word go to expose various omissions and commissions in the Raman Singh government in the last five years which triggered a strong anti-incumbency leading Congress to sweep the recently held assembly polls in the state.
Mr Baghel had to spend a couple of days in jail in Raipur after CBI charge-sheeted him in an alleged fake sex-CD case involving a minister in the Raman Singh government.
Congress stormed to power in Chhattisgarh by security 68 out of total 90 seats, forcing BJP to contend with only 15 seats.