Swearing-in ceremony: Bhupesh Baghel takes oath as Chhattisgarh CM
Raipur, Dec 17: Bhupesh Baghel, the man who led the team that inflicted the BJP's worst defeat in this set of assembly elections, sworn in as Chhattisgarh chief minister today.
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.
Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora are also present at the ceremony. His colleagues Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot also took charge of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the Congress dethroned the BJP the same day.
The Congress had romped home to power in Chhattisgarh after 15 years with a two-third 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.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in power in the state since 2003, was reduced to 15 seats.
Who is Bhupesh Baghel?
Hailing 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, 57, is known for his political acumen with strong leadership qualities.
He took over the reins of the party 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 succumbed to his injuries days after the attack.
Baghel led from the front to take on the BJP regime, led by Raman Singh, after being entrusted the task to revive the Congress' fortunes in Chhattisgarh following the third consecutive defeat in the 2013 Assembly polls.
Baghel had been vocal against BJP-led government's chief minister, Raman Singh, his family members and other ministers, unlike the previous years when most of the senior Congress leaders were seen going soft on the government.
Though, he was embroiled in many controversies, most recently in a sex-CD row purportedly featuring a state minister, he continued his fight against the BJP government.