Why is Bhupesh Baghel silent on his alleged meeting with Adani officials?
New Delhi, June 18: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is being accused of selling off state's interests to Adani Group in his recent New Delhi sojourn.
While Bhupesh was in the national capital, Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi) leader Amit Jogi addressed a press conference in Raipur and asked the media to question the chief minister upon his arrival in the state whether he secretly met Adani Group officials at Chhattisgarh Sadan or not.
When Baghel was questioned by the media in Raipur, he did not give a clear answer by saying as a chief minister he meets with lots of people.
Since Amit Jogi had demanded Baghel to make the details of the alleged meeting with Adani Group officials public, the irked chief minister told media, "Amit Jogi's mother had also met with me, so ask shall I also disclose the details of that meeting or not. "
A Raipur-based political analyst tells OneIndia that the way Baghel has responded to the question of his meeting with Adani Group officials shows that Amit Jogi 's allegation has substance.
"Instead of giving a clear answer, Baghel surprisingly involved Amit Jogi's mother. It was a foolish and politically immature remark. Any chief minister is not supposed to involve name of a woman when he is being questioned about a closed-door meeting. Baghel's response cements Amit Jogi's allegations. As a chief minister, Baghel has every right to meet with anyone but keeping a meeting secret is not right. Politicians keep only those things secret that are beneficial for them and not for people," says the analyst.
Amit Jogi's mother Dr. Renu Jogi is an MLA and was in the Congress for a long time before coming to Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi) party.
According to the analyst, since Chhattisgarh is a mineral-rich state therefore the charge of Mining and Energy Ministries are always considered plum.
It is notable that Baghel also holds the charge of Finance, Mining, and Energy Ministries.
The mining in Chhattisgarh has grabbed national headlines after Baghel government has been forced to stall the work of developing Bailadila iron-ore deposit (Deposit 13) after thousands of tribals resorted to an indefinite strike at National Mineral Development Corporation's (NMDC's) Bacheli-Kirandul complexes under the banner of Sanyukta Panchayat Samiti.
The Deposit 13 mine, located at the Nandraj mountain, is considered highly religious by the tribals, who say it's home of their deity.
The NMDC was allotted Bailadila Deposit-13 in Dantewada district of Bastar.
NMDC formed a joint venture with Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) in 2008. The new entity NCL (NMDC CMDC Limited) got the environment clearance in 2015 to mine 10 million tonnes of iron ore from the mine spread over the lease area of 413.74 hectares. Deposit-13 has a huge reserve of 326 million tonnes of high-grade steel-making raw material.
After the tendering process, Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) was appointed as the mining contractor in December 2018. Interestingly, Baghel is also a director of the NCL.
It is notable that Amit Jogi and his father Ajit Jogi backed anti-Adani protests by the tribals.
"The anti-Adani protests proved a double bonanza for Jogis. While the main Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) didn't act, the Jogis extended their support to the protest that established their party as vocal opposition. Secondly, they have managed to corner their political bête noire Baghel," says the analyst.
Amit Jogi has alleged that after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 14, Bhupesh Baghel held a closed-door meeting between 6 pm to 8 pm with Mr. Rajesh Adani who is brother of Mr. Gautam Adani, owner of Adani Enterprises Limited; Mr. Vinay Prakash Goyal, Corporate Vice President of Adani Group, and Mr. Vaibhav Alsi, in-charge of Chhattisgarh of Adani group.
"Bhupesh Baghel ji, the way you have made your meeting with Prime Minister and your participation in Niti Aayog meeting public, please make the details of your meeting in Chhattisgarh Sadan too public," the JCG(J) leader demanded.
Maintaining that his party would not allow Chhattisgarh to become Adanigarh, Amit Jogi alleged that Baghel has allowed Adani Group to loot state's minerals.
Amit Jogi alleged that Bhupesh Baghel in his meeting with the Adani Group officials has not only allowed the loot of state 's iron ore but also coal.
"Bhupesh has struck deal to grant Consent to Establish by Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board to Maharashtra Power Generation Company (MahaGenco) for Gare Paalma Serial Number 2 coal mine. The mining contract for the same has been awarded to Adani Enterprises and fake public hearing is being held at Raigarh on 27 June 2019, which we will opposed tooth and nail, " said Amit Jogi .
The MahaGenco has been allocated the Gare Palma sector-II coal blocks located in the Mand Raigad coalfield in Chhattisgarh's Raigad district. The block occupies a 2,583.486 hectare area with geological reserves of 1,059.761 million tonne (mt).
Junior Jogi also alleged that Bhupesh has also fiinalised to give the Adani Group the mining contract of Gidhamuri and Pituria coal mines of Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company (CGSPGCL) and Chotia coal mine of Balco.
Bhupesh Baghel, who is very active on Twitter, till now has not clarified his stance on the serious allegations.
The analyst says that he should break his silence over the allegations in his own interest as well as of the Congress party, which returned to the power after 15-years.