Senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel was Sunday appointed the new chief minister of Chhattisgarh, ending the suspense after days of intense deliberations with top party leadership headed by president Rahul Gandhi.
Congress central observer Mallikarjun Kharge made the announcement after the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting at Raipur.
Baghel will take oath as the chief minister at 5 pm on Monday, Kharge told media persons in the state capital.
No other minister will be taking oath on that day, he said.
The 57-year-old OBC leader, who steered the party to a stupendous victory with a two-thirds majority in Chhattisgarh pipped party colleagues T S Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant to the top post, as Congress chief Gandhi decided on his candidature to lead the state government.
“It was a tough decision because all the four leaders worked equally for the party and they all are equal,” Kharge said.
After having discussions with the four aspirants, Gandhi decided to choose Baghel as the chief minister and “we conveyed the message to all the legislators today in the CLP meeting during which they all accepted it and unanimously elected Baghel as the CLP leader,” Kharge said.
“There are several challenges before us as we have come to power after 15 years in the state. We will fulfil our poll promises and we are confident that Baghel will discharge his responsibilities well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the party, in its Twitter handle, said the new Congress government in the state would work on equality, transparency and integrity and its first task would be to declare a loan waiver for farmers of the state.
“Celebrations are in order in Chhattisgarh as Bhupesh Baghel is appointed CM. We wish him the best as he forms a government of equality, transparency and integrity starting off with loan waiver for farmers as we promised,” the party tweeted, along with a picture of Baghel.
Top party leaders have had intense discussions over the past three days before deciding on Baghel, the MLA from Patan constituency in Durg district, as the chief minister.
Rahul Gandhi had held several rounds of discussion with the four aspirants at his Tughlaq Lane residence in New Delhi on Saturday.
On December 12, the CLP had met here in the presence of AICC observer Mallikarjun Kharge and AICC-in-charge for Chhattisgarh, P L Punia.
It had then passed a resolution authorising Gandhi to take a final call on who the next chief minister would be.
In the two-phase polls that took place on November 12 and November 20, the Congress had romped home to power in Chhattisgarh after 15 years with a two-thirds majority, winning 68 seats in the 90-member House.
The BJP, which was in power in the state since 2003, was reduced to 15 seats. PTI