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I never talked about Chief Minister’s post for two and a half years: T.S. Singh Dev

Raipur. In Chhattisgarh, senior Congress leader T.S. Singh Deo, after being appointed the first Deputy Chief Minister of the state, said that he had never talked about the formula for the post of Chief Minister for two and a half years and claimed that it was a discussion created by the media.
Talking to reporters on Thursday morning after reaching Raipur airport from Delhi, Singh Deo thanked the party for appointing him to the post and said, “Better late than never.” The All India Congress Committee (AICC) issued a statement late on Wednesday night saying that party president Mallikarjun Kharge has approved the proposal to appoint Singhdeo as Deputy Chief Minister in Chhattisgarh.

After the formation of Chhattisgarh state, Singh Dev is the first leader of the state who has been given the post of deputy chief minister. His appointment has been decided just a few months before the assembly elections in the state, regarding this, Singh Deo said that the responsibility given even for a day is important. When Singh Dev reached Raipur, there was a huge crowd of his supporters at the Swami Vivekananda airport here. Supporters gave a rousing welcome to Singhdev and raised slogans of ‘TS Baba Zindabad’.

When asked about the two-and-a-half-year power-sharing agreement between him and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Singh Deo said, “I never discussed the two-and-a-half year agreement. This was discussed in the media. However, I always got positive support from the media.” He said, “Today the high command has taken a decision. Whether they take a decision in two-and-a-half years or on day one or in the future, we have to fulfill our responsibility.”

When asked about the face of the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections, he said, “Bhupesh Baghel is the Chief Minister and normally the face of the Chief Minister and the State Congress Committee President is put forward while contesting elections. It has been a tradition in the Congress that we fight elections unitedly. Last time also we did the same. One person alone cannot contest elections and ensure victory.” Singh Deo said, “Last time as the President of the Pradesh Congress Committee, the face of Baghel ji was at the forefront. This time he is the Chief Minister. We follow the decision of the high command.”

Singh Deo and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel have been locked in a power tussle ever since the party came to power in the state in 2018. Chattisgarh. Singh Deo is considered to be an opponent of Chief Minister Baghel. According to Singh Deo’s supporters, the party high command had promised Singh Deo to make him the chief minister for two-and-a-half years after the Congress’ big victory in the state in 2018.

Singh Deo, a three-time MLA, was elected the leader of the Congress Legislature Party by the party after his defeat in the 2013 assembly elections. The Congress manifesto, behind which Singh Deo is believed to have played an important role in bringing the party back to power in the state in 2018. Baghel, who is facing a tough challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the crucial assembly elections in the state, praised the appointment of Singh Deo and appealed for solidarity.

The power struggle between Singh Deo and Baghel took a new turn last year when Singh Deo quit the Panchayat and Rural Development portfolio, indicating he was sidelined in the government, though he retained four other portfolios.
Singh Deo, a scion of the erstwhile Surguja royal family, currently holds the portfolios of Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Twenty Point Implementation and Commercial Tax (GST).

Asked how many seats the Congress is expected to win, he said, “For me the target is between two-thirds and more than 75. Two-thirds target i.e. 60 seats seems a realistic target. Our friends are talking about 75 plus seats. Now we are at 71 so 75 plus is not far away. But even if we get 60 seats, we will be satisfied. There should be confidence, not overconfidence. In 2018, the Congress had won 68 out of 90 seats in the state, ending the 15-year-long rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP got 15 seats in the election. In the same election, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh. (J) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance got a total of seven seats.

The Congress, the ruling party in the state, has won five bypolls and its tally has gone up to 71. The BJP has 13 MLAs, JCC (J) three and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) two MLAs in the state assembly. Recently a BJP MLA has died. Ever since the formation of the new government in the year 2018, the gap between the Chief Minister and Singh Deo had deepened. A few months before the assembly elections, this move of the Congress is being seen as an attempt to reduce internal strife. On the other hand, by sharing his picture with Singh Dev on social media, Baghel has tried to tell that everyone is united in the state Congress and all is well.

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