A number of Chhattisgarh Congress MLAs known to be close to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel are camping in Delhi amid speculation over a leadership change in the state.
The development is being viewed by many as a show of strength but sources in the Baghel camp insisted that the MLAs were reaching Delhi on their own accord and there was no show of strength going on.
The demand for a change of guard reared its head in Chhattisgarh after Baghel completed two-and-a-half years as chief minister in June 2021. The camp of cabinet minister T S Singhdeo has claimed that the high command in 2018 had agreed to hand over the post to him after the government completed half its term.
Brihaspat Singh, who is known to be close to Baghel and has been camping in Delhi, reiterated on Friday there was no question of a change at the top in the state and the Baghel-led government would complete its full term.
"We are here to meet AICC in-charge of Chhattisgarh PL Punia and waiting for him. We want to convey that Rahul Gandhi should extend the duration of his proposed tour to the state so that all MLAs can benefit from it," said Singh, the party MLA from the Ramanujganj seat of the state.
When contacted, Punia had said on Thursday that he was in Lucknow and had no information about the MLAs being in Delhi as none of them had contacted him.
According to sources, around 20 MLAs have already reached Delhi while about 10 more are set to reach the capital late at night.
Singh had said on Thursday that around 15 party MLAs are in Delhi to meet Punia.
Asked about the MLAs' visit to the capital, Baghel had told reporters in Raipur on Thursday, "Tell me one thing - can't legislators go anywhere. Every step should not be seen as politics. Anybody can go anywhere. Even you (mediapersons) tour with your friends and it doesn't mean every time the purpose is getting news."
Similarly, if anyone has gone to Delhi it should not be seen through a political prism, said the CM.
Downplaying the development, Singhdeo had said, "All 70 MLAs can go.... What is the issue if MLAs go to Delhi. All this went on in Uttar Pradesh also, what is new that is happening in Chhattisgarh."
He had said it is the view of all MLAs that everyone would abide by the decision of the high command.
The Congress high command summoned both Baghel and Singhdeo to Delhi in August to resolve the feud.
It appeared that Baghel had managed to avert for the time being a leadership change when he told reporters in Raipur recently that party leader Rahul Gandhi had agreed to visit the state "on his invitation", and those talking about rotating the CM's post were promoting political instability. However, there has been constant speculation over the matter.