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Is this why Bhupesh Baghel skipped Modi’s swearing-in ceremony?


New Delhi, May 31: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel skipped Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Thursday evening.

Earlier there were reports that he would be attending the ceremony but on Wednesday evening he tweeted that he won't be able to attend Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony because of prior fixed programmes in Bastar.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel

However, sources in Congress give a different reason for Baghel's absence in Delhi.

"Congress President Rahul Gandhi is too much annoyed with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashkok Gehlot, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot; Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel," a source tells OneIndia.

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It's notable that Rahul Gandhi had expressed his anger in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting wherein he openly criticised party leaders who put their sons' interests first, choosing to campaign for their children and ignoring the needs of the party. He also spoke against factionalism within among the party leaders.

Gehlot's son Vaibav contested from Jodhpur and Kamal Nath's son Nakul from Chhindwara. It's alleged that both Gehlot and Kamal Nath concentrated more on their sons rather than the party candidates. While Gehlot's son lost the election, Kamal Nath's son became victorious.

As soon as the media reported Rahul's outburst at the CWC meeting, Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, who lead two factions in Rajasthan, reached Delhi on Sunday to meet Rahul Gandhi. Till Tuesday, they waited but Rahul didn't meet them. They could only meet Congress General Secretary and Rahul's sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. While Gehlot returned to Jaipur on Tuesday evening, Pilot left Delhi on Wednesday morning.

Sources say that sensing the mood of Rahul Gandhi, Bhupesh Baghel and Kamal Nath are avoiding meeting the Congress president and waiting for him to calm down.

"Congress high command has also got reports from Chhattisgarh that Baghel has turned the Congress in the state into 'one man show' and the rivalry between him, T.S. Singhdeo, and Tamradhwaj Sahu is one of the main reasons for the party's poor performance in the state, where it had won 68 seats in 90-seat assembly," says a source.

The rivalry between these three leaders had come to fore for the post of Chief Minister December last year. Rahul had chosen Baghel for the top post, but bitterness between these leaders remained.

Both Baghel and Sahu are from Durg parliamentary constituency and this is where the Congress candidate has lost with the highest margin. This the constituency where votes of Sahu community are highest. Tamradhwaj Sahu had won the seat even in 2014 when there was Modi wave across the country. Singhdeo didn't campaign in Sarguja, his home constituency, on the pretext of being busy in Odisha. He was made temporary in-charge of the state before Lok Sabha polls.

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"Rahul had pinned high hopes on Baghel but he didn't perform and failed to control factionalism in his state. The Congress high command has also taken note of the fact that Baghel, Gehlot, and Kamal Nath did wrong reporting to Rahul Gandhi even a day before the election results were announced on May 23. They all had told Rahul that the party is going to win maximum seats in their states," adds the source.

Attending Modi's swearing-in ceremony would have put Baghel face to face with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi who were present on the occasion.

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