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Analysis: Bhupesh Baghel is the sole reason for Congress loss

Bhupesh Baghel ran an administration devoid of any human touch, principles or planning, rough shodding his way over every opposition within and outside based on a massive mandate obtained in 2018 which he appropriated as his own doing.

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By Neeraj Mishra

In the end, the voter understood Bhupesh Baghel’s duplicity better than us, observers, reporters and analysts. Baghel’s alms to the farmers in four instalments every year was aimed as a cover-up for his massive corruption and coercive ways. He ran an administration devoid of any human touch, principles or planning, rough shodding his way over every opposition within and outside based on a massive mandate obtained in 2018 which he appropriated as his own doing.

His discarded, embarrassed teammates grinned and bore it. Those who joined his gang (not government) prospered but have all been put to sleep by the electorate enraged at a pretentious “son of the soil” who allegedly wanted a cut in everything from Mahadev App, Excise sales, Mining to officer postings.

Baghel’s assumption that since he had fed the farmers an extra Rs 500, paid for their cow dung, and sweet-talked them about chhattisgariya pride, he had achieved an invincible position. His boasts of 75-plus seats reminded everyone of the last Congress chief minister Ajit Jogi, who had similar pretensions.

At least, Jogi worked hard and with a purpose. Incidentally, Baghel was a minister in his cabinet, foisted on him by a previous arrangement with Digvijaya Singh that his Madhya Pradesh cabinet members would be retained, always called Baghel a “ganda aadmi” (dirty man). This personal rivalry led Baghel to cancel the entire Jogi family’s ST certificate once in power, which in the end has left the beleaguered party with no national-level leadership among the tribals. He similarly chucked out his one-time benefactor Arvind Netam from the party.

Kakka means home breaker

In all family feuds over property, it’s usually the kakka (younger uncle) and his sons who ruin a family’s peace. Bhupesh, who coined the epithet Kakka for himself, and was fond of saying Kakka abhi Zinda hai, managed to drive a wedge in the Gandhi household itself.

He refused to abdicate when Rahul Gandhi asked him following his promise of 2.5 years to TS Singhdeo as CM. He instead clung on to Priyanka with unconcealed flattery who became his saviour. He even welcomed her with rose petals covering her one km path during the AICC session in Raipur in February earlier this year.

He was made in charge of Assam and Uttar Pradesh elections and Raman Singh alleged that he was Priyanka’s ATM. Many Congressmen close to Baghel even joke that he pays Priyanka’s EMI. Jokes apart, Baghel did manage to annoy Rahul and Sonia with his Priyanka shield.

ED cases in Chhattisgarh

Two IAS officers, who joined the Baghel gang, are in jail. His closest aides are incarcerated and several more have been identified by the BJP and are likely to face the music in coming days. The Congress lost 17 SC/ST seats paving the way for the BJP to grab them back. The BJP which had only 3 seats out of 39 reserved seats, now has 21. This is where the battle was lost.

Baghel’s running battle with tribal PCC president Markam and foisting of his dummy Deepak Baij just ahead of elections ended in loss for both tribal leaders.

OBC hoax

Baghel pulled wool over the eyes of the Gandhis by projecting himself as an OBC leader. The learned Gandhi siblings, of course, don’t know what or who is an OBC or whether it can be treated as a block. The BJP called his hoax of Kurmi leadership and separated the Sahus from the OBC stack.

Result, a labourer from Bemetara, Ishwar Sahu was given the ticket in Saja seat and he defeated the loathsome figure of Ravindra Chaubey, who was Baghel’s closest ally along with Mohammad Akbar in the cabinet. Both lost by margins of over 40,000 votes. It only means the voter was watching and registering everything.

Opportunity

Baghel was a leader from Durg district who clung onto bigger names like Vasudev Chandrakar and Khubchand Baghel because of his Kurmi caste. He was given the transport portfolio by Digvijaya Singh in undivided Madhya Pradesh but the department was run directly by him. He got his opportunity in Chhattisgarh because of the tragic incident of Jeeram Valley when the Naxalites shot down the entire senior leadership of Congress, from VC Shukla, Nand Kumar Patel to Mahendra Karma. Baghel and TS Singhdeo prospered because the last of the senior leaders like Satyanarain Sharma and Charandas Mahant had been sidelined by Ajit Jogi. Baghel was smart enough to then push Jogi out of the Congress once he became PCC president in 2014.

Government

In saddle, Baghel created a fear psychosis among bureaucrats. His first target as CM were Principal Secretary to Raman Singh, Aman Singh and his EOW chief Mukesh Gupta. He suspended and then terminated Gupta, filed cases against Aman Singh and Raman Singh’s son Abhishek Singh. Later, he posted pliable officers in EOW to threaten and coerce senior bureaucrats.

One of them was ADGP GP Singh, who was raided by his own EOW department, and later forced to retire. Journalists were threatened and raided, arrested and even their houses bulldozed. One of them, an ex-Aaj Tak reporter, is now behind bars with an NDPS case slapped on him because he dared to question bureaucrats close to Baghel.

If anything, Baghel’s five-year reign has proved that one needs good people and officers to run a government. He had none. Not even one. There were two people from the districts, one ex-cartoonist from a local newspaper accused of making and distributing sex CDs, one pretentious socialist-turned Congressi local editor crowned by an SDM level officer with a motor mouth.

She is now cooling her heels in ED custody but when she ran the show, abusing IAS officers was her favourite pastime. This priceless team put together a policy called-Narwa, Ghurwa, Badi—which they thought was a brilliant idea to change the lives of villagers. It didn’t change anything but culminated in the only creditable policy of Baghel sarkar in Rajiv Gandhi bonus of Rs 500 per quintal for the farmers.

But the lot enjoyed unbridled power with novice district collectors dancing to their tune and everyone from Patwari and Hawaldar to Chief Secretary to DGP collecting and paying cuts. At least that’s what the ED teams found. Those cases are now likely to gain speed.

The Dhebar chapter

The Dhebar family from Raipur became his strongest ally. It is believed they also became his book keepers. He managed to install Aijaz Dhebar as Mayor of Raipur through clever manipulation of indirect voting. In a direct vote, Aijaz, a one-time NSUI president, who would possibly have remained a corporator from a Muslim locality all his life.

This emboldened the Dhebars and they are accused of swindling the state exchequer of Rs 2000 crore by the ED. Aijaz’s elder brother was incarcerated for a year and is now out on bail but the ED cases are still on. The Congress’ wipe-out from all seven seats in Raipur district is credited to Dhebars uncontrolled loot of public funds and land. Again the electorate was watching and registering everything.

Women’s vote

If one were to pin Baghel on one single reason for the Congress’ devastating loss, it would be how he cheated women voters. It’s not the promises or enticement by the BJP, it’s the fraud perpetrated on them by Baghel that riled women voters, who outnumber male voters overall in the state.

What was the fraud? Baghel and Singhdeo had promised Prohibition as soon as they came to power but instead the whole excise department became a milch cow. The excise revenue rose from Rs 4000 crore in 2018 to Rs 8000 crore in 2022-23. An equal amount is believed to have been made illegally and shared by many every year.

It had become so bad that during the Covid years, liquor was delivered to the doorstep by government vehicles. An entire generation has been ruined by this senselessness and women folk noted this with venom in their heart against the perpetrators as they watched their homes and men folk going to waste.

Scams

There is an endless list of scams from the latest Mahadev App betting racket to coal mafia, sand mafia, mining mafia, transport mafia, PSC appointments scam, teachers recruitment scam, police promotion scam to transfer and posting deals.

All this could have been taken up by the BJP on a warfooting during elections and there were questions raised over their leaders’ intentions when it was not done over the past five years. But eventually they relied on the undercurrent of anger among women and the duplicitous nature of Bhupesh ka Bharosa to see them through.

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UP government cancels Reserve Civil Police recruitment exam, says fresh test to be held within 6 months

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath posted on X that there can be no compromise with the sanctity of examinations. He assured the people that strict action will be taken to address any attempts to sabotage the efforts of aspiring candidates. He said firm action was pledged against those found responsible for such misconduct.

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The government of Uttar Pradesh cancelled the Reserve Civil Police recruitment exam on Saturday and said a new exam to be conducted within 6 months. The examination took place on February 17 and 18th. According to reports there were allegations of the question paper being leaked.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath posted on X that there can be no compromise with the sanctity of examinations. He assured the people that strict action will be taken to address any attempts to sabotage the efforts of aspiring candidates. He said firm action was pledged against those found responsible for such misconduct.The re-examination will be held in next 6 months and the candidates will be taken to the exam centres free of cost by the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses.

The Yogi government has ordered an investigation into suspected irregularities and tampering in the Review officer/Assistant Review Officer (RO/ARO) examination. The investigation is focusing on administrative issues rather than the content of the exam paper. The state government also directed for registration of an FIR against those found responsible for the leak. The recruitment exam took place in two shifts in which more than 48 lakh candidates had applied and 43 lakh had appeared for the examination.

According to reports there was a paper leak on social media and it was available at a price between Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh. Many candidates had it 8-12 hours before the commencement of the examination. The UP Police recruitment and promotion board on Monday constituted an internal committee to carry out investigation in the alleged paper leak and viral question papers on social media.Hundreds of candidates who had appeared for the UP constable recruitment examination 2024 gathered at Eco Garden, Lucknow, on Friday and staged a massive protest demanding re-examination

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman travels by Mumbai local, takes selfies with commuters

Finance Minister Sitharaman took a ride in a local from Ghatkopar to Kalyan.

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday travelled in a Mumbai local train and interacted with commuters while travelling from Ghatkopar to Kalyan. She also took pictures with them.

Sitharaman left commuters by surprise when she made her way inside their coaches. This morning, the commuters had an unusual co-passenger travelling with them. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the passengers.

Taking to X, Sitharaman’s office informed that the Finance Minister took a ride in a local from Ghatkopar to Kalyan. The office also shared pictures of Sitharaman taking selfies with the youngsters and office-goers.

Later in the day, Sitharaman also attended the inauguration ceremony of the BITS Pilani news campus in Kalyan, Maharashtra. Addressing the ceremony, she said that a growing India draws from its skilled youths who contributed to the nation’s development.

She further said that the impact of a well-rounded education is such that different services and different domains benefit from their presence, adding that, she said that most often the government is lectured by the Western top leader that India should have a culture of charity, to which she thoroughly disagreed with them by giving them the example of institution like BITS, which promotes good education, funds needy students and sets a good example of various other charitable work they have done, Sitharaman added.

Furthermore, Sitharaman said that the innovation from India to innovate for India was the principle with which her government has worked, so innovation gets all the support.

Speaking about the recent budget, She said that, the vote on the account budget, she had announced that there would be a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore given for the corpus for a special purpose vehicle which will be created by the government, which will be funding innovations and research and development activities, she asserted.

BITS Pilani, an institution which started just from being a ‘Paathshala’, is now an institution where people now long to study, she added. There have been 7,400 CEOs from BITS Pilani, many in Fortune 500 companies, she further added. Over 3,300 academicians, including Vice-Chancellors, Directors, and Heads of Departments in prestigious universities globally, are from BITS Pilani, she said at the inauguration of BITS.

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BJP MP Manoj Tiwari reacts to AAP-Congress Alliance, reminds CM Kejriwal of his 2012 jail promise

AAP and Congress announced an alliance in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Goa, and Chandigarh on Saturday.

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BJP MP Manoj Tiwari on Saturday reminded Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal of his promise of sending leaders of Congress Party to jail. This comes after the announcement of the AAP and Congress’ seat sharing deal for upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.

Using the metaphor chor chor mausere bhai which translates in English, birds of a feather flock together, Tiwari said, this is what it is happening between AAP and Congress. He alleged that AAP workers are disappointed with CM Kejriwal as the used to speak about putting Congress leaders in jail but now he is at their feet.

AAP was formed after Arvind Kejriwal launched anti-corruption protests in Delhi. At that time congress was in power in both Delhi and the Centre.

Later when the party was formed in 2012, Arvind Kejriwal said that he would put corrupt leaders in jail within six months of coming to power.

Tiwari said that Arvind Kejriwal and AAP had ousted Congress from Delhi and Punjab and now the Chief Minister is sharing the stage with Rahul Gandhi.

He also said BJP and Prime Minister Modi are in everyone’s heart and the people of Delhi will decide everything as it is clear now that the top leaders of AAP and Congress are the same.

Meanwhile, AAP leader Atishi said that CM Kejriwal can be arrested soon. She alleged that ever since the INDIA bloc seat sharing was nearly finalised, Kejriwal started getting threats from everwhere. She also mentioned that the party members were told if they didn’t exit the alliance, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would frame charges against Arvind Kejriwal to arrest him.

She claimed that the party had the information that the CBI would issue a notice on Monday and would arrest CM Kejriwal in a few days.

AAP and Congress announced an alliance in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Goa, and Chandigarh on Saturday.

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