Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh Congress president, has been named as the new chief minister on Sunday. Baghel is credited with helping the Congress rise from the ashes of the deadly Naxal attack that wiped out the top party leadership of the state five years ago. Baghel, 57, is known for his political acumen with strong leadership qualities.
The decision to make him the chief minister was taken at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting held in Raipur on Sunday. He will take oath at 5 PM on Monday, AICC observer Mallikarjun Kharge said.
In the two-phase polls that took place on November 12 and November 20, the Congress had romped home to power in the state after 15 years with a two-third majority, winning 68 seats in the 90-member House.
The BJP, which was in power since 2003, was reduced to 15 seats.
Bhupesh Baghel: Here’s all you need to know
# Baghel was born on August 23, 1961, in a farmer's family in Durg district. His political career started in 1980s. He was first elected as an MLA from Patan seat in 1993 and then consecutively in 1998 and 2003 from the same constituency.
# In the 2008 Assembly polls, he suffered defeat at the hands of BJP's Vijay Baghel, following which he was given ticket from Raipur for the 2009 Lok Sabha election, which he also lost to the saffron party's Ramesh Bais.
# He bounced back in the state in 2013 by winning from the Patan Assembly seat.
# After the formation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, he served as a revenue minister in the Ajit Jogi government (2000-2003).
# Baghel hails from the influential Kurmi (Other Backward Class) community, which accounts for around 14 per cent of the state population of around 2.5 crore.
# Baghel became the state Congress chief in October 2014, nearly a year-and-a-half after a Naxal attack in Sukma district in May, 2013, in which many of the party's senior leaders, including V C Shukla and then party chief Nand Kumar Patel, were killed. Shukla had died days after the attack.
# In 2013, the Congress, which had already dealt a blow, suffered another defeat in the assembly elections. It was then the party decided to entrust the task to revive the Congress' fortunes in Chhattisgarh and he didn’t disappoint.
# However, things were not easy for him. The infighting within the Congress was at its peak with a group, led by former chief minister Ajit Jogi, having differences with several other party leaders.
# The state Congress unit expelled Ajit Jogi's son, Amit Jogi, from the party in 2015-16 after an audio tape purportedly revealed that the Antagarh Assembly seat by-poll in 2014 was fixed
# Later, Ajit Jogi, who was accused of acting as a 'B team' of Raman Singh, also quit the Congress.
# Despite the setbacks and differences, Baghel, along with then Leader of Opposition in the Assembly TS Singh Deo, continued to play a key role in mobilising and motivating Congress workers.
(With PTI inputs)