Senior Congress leader and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday said Rahul Gandhi's leadership has never been challenged in the Congress and hoped that he will be at the helm once again in the near future. The remark comes amid reports of Rahul's close aides in the party being allegedly targeted and senior leader Salman Khurshid's statement about a leadership "vacuum" that caused a flutter in the Congress.
"It has been recorded in history that even Indiraji was challenged in the party over leadership. Rajivji and Soniaji were challenged too. But there was never a challenge to Rahul Gandhi's leadership," Baghel told PTI in an interview, before concluding his week-long 'Gandhi Vichar Yatra' in the state.
"Neither any worker nor any leader has ever questioned his leadership," he said. On reports that Rahul's close aides in the party were being targeted, Baghel said, "If someone has made a statement at a personal capacity, then there is no need to give importance to it." Asked if he hoped that Rahul Gandhi would become the Congress president again in the near future, the chief minister said, "He will definitely be."
Referring to his yatra taken out to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Baghel targeted the BJP and the RSS, claiming, "Their nationalism is completely opposite to Bapu's nationalism." Baghel said the Mahatma's concept of nationalism is more relevant in the current situation of the country. "Mahatma Gandhi's nationalism was to respect even those who disagree, but the nationalism of the BJP and the RSS is to troll you and destroy you if you do not agree with them," the chief minister said. He said:
"I want to ask RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is his nationalism not inspired by Hitler and Mussolini?"
Baghel said action is being taken against Abhishek Singh, son of former chief minister Raman Singh, in the chit fund case and former chief minister Ajit Jogi in the caste certificate case as per the law and his government has nothing to do with it. He claimed that Chhattisgarh's economy has gained momentum ever since he became the chief minister last year and despite the slowdown in the country, his state has been developing economically.
"There is a slowdown in the country but we do not have it here. It is because we have strengthened the poor and the farmers financially. Vehicle sales grew 13 per cent. Since last December, there has been an increase of 84 per cent bullion sales." Baghel said that he is trying to strengthen the agro-based economy of the state.