Chh’garh govt’s policy helped curb it: CM Baghel

Centre didn't play any role in bringing down Naxal menace

By Tikeshwar Patel and Ankit Mishra
Raipur, Oct 21 (PTI)

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the BJP-led Centre did not play any role in curbing
Naxalism in the state as incidents of Naxal violence were on the rise under the party’s “double engine” government between
2014 and 2018, and asserted that his dispensation’s three-pronged strategy of development, trust and security resulted in
pushing Maoists on backfoot.
In an interview to PTI, Baghel also said his party’s high command will decide whether he would continue to be the CM or
not if the Congress retains power in the state after the next month’s assembly elections.
Congress is striving to retain power in Chhattisgarh for the second straight term in the two-phased elections to be held on
November 7 and 17, riding high on the popularity of Baghel, who has a significant hold over the Other Backward Classes
(OBC) and rural voters, and the government’s welfare schemes focused on farmers, tribals and the poor.
Refuting charges of scams being levelled by the BJP against his government, the CM termed the allegations as a conspiracy
to defame his dispensation and accused the Centre of trying to influence elections using central agencies like the
Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department.
“Between 2014 and 2018, there was a double engine government in Chhattisgarh (referring to BJP government under
Raman Singh) during which the Naxal-related incidents increased. After the Congress was elected to power (in 2018), it
implemented a strategy of development, trust and security that resulted in pushing Naxalites on the backfoot. BJP has no
role in it. They are the ones who provoke. Manipur is burning but they are not going there,” Baghel said.
His statement comes days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused the Congress of encouraging Naxalism and said
incidents of Naxal violence have come down by 52 per cent in the nine-year rule of the Modi government, and promised to
free Chhattisgarh of the menace if the BJP is voted to power.
Baghel said, “We cannot fight Naxalism only using force. Police camps were opened in our tenure in core areas. The camps
which were pending since 2009 were set up. In our government, 90 camps were opened and about 600 villages were freed
of the menace. We reopened 300 schools (in Maoist-hit areas). We have built thousands of kilometres of roads. We have
tried to improve the economic condition of people and implemented many welfare schemes.”
Reacting to the charges of scams and ED action, Baghel said they were attempts to defame his government.
“They allege corruption of Rs 1,300 crore in cow dung procurement. How it can be possible as so far cow dung worth Rs
271 crore has been procured (under the Godhan Nyay Yojana since its inception) and money was directly transferred into
the accounts of beneficiaries…You level charges of other scams, which is illegal.”
“They talk about liquor scam and fake hologram (on liquor bottles). The Supreme Court has given relief (to the accused in
the alleged liquor scam). Where will the fake hologram be pasted? It will be done in factories. But they (ED) are not taking
action against factory owners, while others are being arrested. It means you are trying to blackmail.
“You say the scam worth Rs 2,161 crore was committed. Why don’t you arrest factory owners and interrogate them? You
are just levelling baseless allegations. First I-T and then ED conducted raids and now they have approached the court
seeking a CBI inquiry into it. They didn’t reach a conclusion in three years. Their intention is just to harass, not to ensure
justice…They are just trying to scare to influence elections,” the 62-year-old leader said.
He said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ED Director seeking a probe into the alleged chit fund
scam under the previous Raman Singh government, the best case of money laundering, but nothing has been done, he said.
In the Panama Papers case, the name of Abhishek Singh (former MP and son of Raman Singh) allegedly featured, he
“Amit Shah ji should first hang him (Singh) upside down,” Baghel said slamming the Union home minister for his recent
remark of hanging upside down the corrupt people if BJP returns to power in the state.
When pointed out that while on the one hand the Congress was trying to woo the OBCs, but on the other hand not
projecting him, a strong OBC leader, as its CM face, Baghel said, “We had passed a bill provisioning 27 per cent
reservation for OBCs, but it is pending with the Raj Bhawan. Rahul Gandhi ji has promised to conduct a caste census (in
Chhattisgarh if Congress comes back to power.”
Asked if he will continue to the CM if the Congress wins the elections, Baghel, who represents Patan seat said, the
decision will be taken by party high command and only they can answer the question.
Accusing BJP leaders of lying, he said, “They speak lies (over paddy procurement). Whether it was the UPA or the NDA
government, it was the state government that kept purchasing paddy. In Punjab, only Food Corporation of India procures
paddy and we welcome the step if they (Centre) issue an order that the FCI will do the same in other states PM Modi and
Shah are lying. What level are you stooping to for votes?”
He claimed Amit Shah made a false statement that Nagarnar Steel Plant in Bastar, inaugurated recently by PM Modi, will
not be privatised.
“The Nagarnar steel plant is in the disinvestment list of the committee headed by PM. In view of the elections, the Union
home minister made a false statement that it will not be privatised, and is not being liked by the people of Bastar. People
believe that only Congress can save the plant from going into private hands which is why residents of Bastar support
Congress,” he said.
The BJP tries to rake up issues of religious conversion and communalism in every election but they will not succeed in
Chhattisgarh using that trick, he said.


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