New Delhi: After much deliberation and firefight, Bhupesh Baghel has been chosen to be the next chief minister of Chhattisgarh. Initially, senior Congress leader TS Sing Deo, the leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, was tipped to be the man for his proximity to Tughlaq Lane. But political realities and ground support for Baghel tilted the decision in his favour. But who is Baghel? 

Here are three things that you must know about Chhattisgarh’s next chief minister

Sex CD and Baghel

Baghel has been quite the controversy’s child. He was accused of circulating a ‘fake’ sex CD involving a state minister. In fact, on demand of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the court sent him to 14 days of judicial custody for the same. According to the CBI FIR, Chhattisgarh Congress chief Baghel was arrested for allegedly circulating fake sex CDs to defame then minister Rajesh Munat. However, Baghel had rejected all the charges.

Baghel vs PL Punia

Baghel, a very hands-on PCC chief who enjoyed the support of party workers, never cared to give PL Punia, the party in-charge of the state any space. Punia was perceived as a threat for his CM chair should the Congress come to power, and hence portrayed him as an outsider.  CDs and Baghel have had a long association. Again, a CD showed up purportedly showing him making defamatory statements about the Chhattisgarh party in-charge, Punia. Just before the election, the CD went viral. Though the Congress and he himself tried to play it down, it could have cost the party dear in this election had the anti-incumbency been not this heavy.

Baghel's tryst with land ‘scam’

If CD rows weren’t enough for him, Baghel’s name was also dragged in a case of an alleged land scam. In 2017, Ajit Jogi’s party alleged that Baghel’s brother and sister tried to save as much as 91 acres of land from sealing,  by a ‘conspiracy’. Though Baghel, at that point, held a press conference to cry political conspiracy ahead of 2018 Assembly election, since the allegations came not from the BJP, then CM Raman Singh seized the moment and ordered an investigation. Apart from that, there was an allegation of fraud against Baghel in a land distribution case that dates 22 years back. The Economic Offense Wing (EOW) of the state initiated investigations against Baghel in that matter. His family members were also made to be accused by the EOW.

Baghel has been, all the while, claiming innocence. Given the kind of controversies he has been embroiled in, his chances to the state’s top executive post would have been minimal. But what undoubtedly goes for him is he connect with his party cadres. During the 2013 Darbha Ghati attack by naxals, the entire Congress leadership was wiped off; and it was Baghel who started from the scratch and created a team. With Mahendra Karma assassinated and Ajit Jogi leaving the ship, Baghel, in spite of all his controversies, stood for his men despite the political stand taken by New Delhi. Probably it is this pro-cadre approach that he imitated from the BJP, swung the decision in his favour on Sunday, making him the chief minister-designate of Chhattisgarh.