After days of intense deliberations with top party leadership led by Rahul Gandhi, state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel on Monday took oath as the third chief minister of Chhattisgarh. The swearing-in ceremony took place at Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium around 6:30 pm in Raipur. Earlier, it was scheduled to be held at Science College ground but the authorities changed the venue in the wake of incessant rainfall in the region, according to reports.
Congress national president Rahul Gandhi, along with a host of opposition leaders attended the swearing-in of Baghel. Among opposition leaders who took part in the ceremony include former prime minister HD Devegowda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and many others. Sources said the Congress has also invited the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the swearing-in ceremony and its leader Sanjay Singh was likely to attend the event.
Highlights from Bhupesh Baghel's oath-taking ceremony:
07:07 pm: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi attend the swearing in of Bhupesh Baghel as the new CM of Chhattisgarh.
06:48 pm: TS Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu take oath as Chhattisgarh ministers.
06:30 pm: Bhupesh Baghel takes oath as Chhattisgarh chief minister.
04:11 pm: The venue of CM designate Bhupesh Baghel's oath taking ceremony has been changed from Science College ground to Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium in Raipur, due to continuous rainfall.
Chhattisgarh: The venue of CM designate Bhupesh Baghel's oath taking ceremony has been changed from Science College ground to Balbir Singh Juneja Indoor Stadium in Raipur, due to continuous rainfall. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/esrXc4oKuG— ANI (@ANI) December 17, 2018
Early on Sunday, Baghel, accompanied by a delegation of newly elected Congress MLAs visited the Raj Bhavan and handed over a letter staking claim to form the government to the Secretary of the Governor, Surendra Kumar Jaiswal. Post that, Governor Anandiben Patel invited Baghel to take oath as the Chhattisgarh chief minister at 4.30 pm on Monday, a Raj Bhavan release said.
Baghel, MLA from Patan constituency and state Congress chief, was named as the next chief minister of Chhattisgarh at a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Sunday. He took charge of the state Congress in 2014.
In the two-phase Chhattisgarh Assembly elections on November 12 and November 20, the Congress swept the heartland state with a two-thirds majority after 15 long years. With wins in 68 seats, the Congress emerged as the single largest party in Chhattisgarh while the ruling BJP was reduced to 15 seats in the 90-member Legislative Assembly. The BJP had been in power in Chhattisgarh since 2003.