Raipur, Bhupesh Baghel was on Monday sworn-in as Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. Baghel has now become the third Chief Minister of state. Two other Ministers were also sworn-in with Baghel.
Governor Anandiben Patel administered oath of office and secrecy to Baghel, at swearing-in ceremony held at Indoor Stadium in the capital. Apart from Baghel, two other leaders – Tamradhwaj Sahu and TS Singhdeo – who were in race for chief ministerial post earlier, took oath as Ministers.
Given enthusiasm among Congress leaders, workers and supporters over formation of Congress government with party’s return to power after a period of 15 years in the state, the grand swearing-in ceremony was earlier scheduled to be held at Science College ground. But in view of rains occurring with change of weather since night, the venue of swearing-in ceremony had to be shifted to Indoor Stadium.
Baghel’s swearing-in ceremony was attended by AICC President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Minister in Punjab Government Navjot Singh Sidhu, National Conference Chief Farooq Abdullah, former Union Ministers Sharad Yadav, Mohsina Kidwai, Motilal Vora, leader of Congress Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, outgoing chief minister Dr Raman Singh, Congress state in-charge PL Punia, Uttar Pradesh Congress President Raj Babbar and several other leaders from ruling and opposition parties.
Baghel has become the third chief minister of Chhattisgarh and second chief minister of Congress after it was carved out of Madhya Pradesh as separate state in the year 2000.
Baghel, who hailed from a family of farmers belonging to OBC, is known for his aggressive politics. It was Baghel who played leading role in throwing away 15-year old BJP government in Chhattisgarh and paving way for Congress to return to power with over two third majority.
Baghel who had taken up responsibility of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) Chief soon after his party’s defeat in 2013 assembly elections, took up the challenge to overcome dominance of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi and launched an agitation along with dedicated workers of the party.
As PCC Chief Baghel expelled Ajit Jogi’s son Amit Jogi for anti-party activities in Antagarh by-poll besides sending a proposal from Pradesh Congress Committee office for expulsion of Ajit Jogi.
During that point of time it was not so easy for Congress to take such a major action against Jogi. However, in view of growing influence of Bhupesh Baghel, Jogi quit the party on his own.
Born on August 23, 1961 in Durg district, Baghel was elected MLA for the first time in 1993 from Patan constituency of the undivided Madhya Pradesh Assembly. Again in 1998 he was elected MLA. Baghel served as Minister in Digvijay Singh Government of undivided Madhya Pradesh. After Chhattisgarh state formation in the year 2000 he was also the Minister in Jogi Government.
Baghel, who was vociferous against Ajit Jogi even while being member of his (latter’s) cabinet in Chhattisgarh, became deputy leader of Congress Legislative Party (CLP) with his election as MLA for the third time in 2003. Despite his defeat in 2008 assembly elections, he remained active in the party. Again in 2013 he was elected as MLA.
He was entrusted with the charge of PCC Chief at a time when party was going through a very critical phase after killing of party’s several top leaders in Jheeram Valley Naxal attack. His hard work and prolonged struggle eventually paid him rich dividends in form of party’s emphatic victory in 2018 assembly elections after a gap of 15 years in the state.