Chhattisgarh Cong 1st to implement ‘under-50’ rule: CM Baghel

In the recently held plenary session of the Congress in Raipur, it was decided to give 50 per cent of party positions to those below 50 years of age. 

Raipur: The implementation of Congress’ move to give half of the party positions to those aged below 50 has started from Chhattisgarh with the appointment of Deepak Baij (42) as the state unit head, said Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday.

Baij, who represents Bastar parliamentary constituency, was on Wednesday appointed as the Chhattisgarh Congress chief by party president Mallikarjun Kharge, replacing MLA Mohan Markam.

Asked about the decision, Baghel told reporters here, “Different people in the organisation are given different responsibilities. Mohan ji has completed two terms and changes are being made (in Congress organisations) in all states.”

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Baghel said that in the recently held plenary session of the Congress in Raipur, it was decided to give 50 per cent of party positions to those below 50 years of age. “So It has begun from Chhattisgarh as Deepak ji is aged 42 years,” he said.

The CM said Baij’s appointment will have a “good impact” on the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, due by the year-end. The Congress has 71 MLAs in the 90-member Assembly.

About the likelihood of a cabinet reshuffle, he said, “Keep watching and waiting.”

There had been uncertainties over Markam’s continuation as the state Congress chief amid a buzz that Baghel was reportedly unhappy with his many decisions.

The latest move that possibly went against Markam was the reshuffle of general secretaries last month which was later cancelled by Chhattisgarh Congress in-charge Kumari Selja.

There were also speculations that Congress won’t take the risk of replacing the incumbent tribal leader with a non-tribal person and ignoring the Bastar region.

Baij, a prominent young tribal face of the party from the Bastar region, is popular among youths, particularly tribals.

A two-time MLA from Chitrakot assembly constituency (Scheduled Tribe reserved), Baij quit after he was elected as a Member of Parliament from the Bastar Lok Sabha seat in 2019. His victory against the Modi wave’ brought him to the limelight.

Baij has been vocal in raising pro-farmer and pro-tribal issues in the Assembly as well as in Lok Sabha.

He was elected as an MLA for the first time in 2013 and then for the second consecutive term in 2018.

The Congress gave him a ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to cash in on his rising popularity as a youth leader from Bastar region in south Chhattisgarh, which comprises seven districts.

He was awarded Adarsh Yuva Vidhayak Puraskar’ by the Indian Student Parliament’, MIT Pune, Maharashtra, in 2017.

After Baij’s appointment, the main opposition BJP had accused Congress of using Markam as a part of its use and throw’ policy.

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