Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel likens RSS to Naxals; BJP hits back at him


Equating the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh with Naxals, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said the way the outlaws active in his state were being dictated by their senior cadres sitting in other states, the local RSS workers were being controlled from Nagpur.

The RSS headquarters is located in Nagpur city of neighbouring Maharashtra.

Hitting back at Baghel, the BJP described his statement as “language of extremists”, and said the Congress has deviated from the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi.

Talking to reporters at the helipad here, Baghel also slammed the Centre over its claim that there was no shortage of coal in the country, and added that it has failed to handle the issue.

“There will be an impartial investigation (into last week’s Kawardha violence)…In Chhattisgarh, no work of RSS people got done during 15 years (of the BJP rule from 2003 to 2018) and they continued to work as bonded labourers,” Baghel said.

“Even now, they (RSS workers in the state) are not heard as everything is being controlled from Nagpur. Like the Naxal leaders are in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and other states and their cadres (in Chhattisgarh) do the job of firing bullets and getting hit. The same is the situation in the RSS. The local RSS workers have no value…Everything is centred in Nagpur,” he added.

He was replying to a query on Governor Anusuiya Uikey’s letter to the state government for an impartial enquiry into the violence occurred on October 5 in Kawardha, the headquarter of Kabirdham district, during a rally taken out by right wing outfits.

Stepping up his attack on the opposition BJP and the RSS, the CM said, “They are left with no issues to raise. They have nothing to say over farmers, tribals, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and businesses and hence they have resorted to only two issues – conversion and communalism, in which they have mastery.”

“They make people fight. The business establishments which were shut due to the coronavirus crisis for a long time are now gradually opening up and they are trying to ruin it by instigating riots. It will not be allowed. We have to keep an eye on their attempts to give communal colour to fights over petty issues,” he added.

The ruling Congress has blamed the BJP for the violence in Kawardha. BJP MP Santosh Pandey and former parliamentarian Abhishek Singh were among some party leaders who were named in an FIR lodged in connection with the violence.

Slamming the Centre over its claims of no shortage of coal in the country, he said, “The government of India had said there is no crisis of coal and power generation in the country, but dozens of power plants are shut in the country. If there is no lack of coal in the country, why has the coal minister reached Chhattisgarh?”

The Centre should admit that there is a shortage of coal, he said.

“Don’t know what this Indian government is doing. There was a lack of oxygen (referring to the situation during the second wave of COVID-19), shortage of fertilizers and now lack of coal. The Centre has failed to handle these things. These small arrangements needed to be regularized only and kept in continuity. The Centre is not able to do just this. What will be more unfortunate than this,” he added.

Union Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi arrived in the state on Wednesday to visit mines of South Eastern Coalfields Limited in Korba district.

Reacting to the chief minister’s statement about the RSS, senior BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik said, “The way CM has compared Sangh and Naxalism, in reality these are not Bhupesh Baghel’s words, but are of his Leftist ideology. The Congress has lost its core ideology and deviated from the Gandhian ideology.”

Citing the ongoing turmoil within the ruling Congress in the state, he said, “The party has been battling infighting in the entire country. It is shrinking. Punjab and Rajasthan are in front of you. The root cause of its infighting in Chhattisgarh is because it has left its core ideology and is getting influenced by the Left. I advise Baghel that if he wants to speak about the Sangh, then he should read about it. One should see the work of the Sangh by going to the Sangh’s place…”

The way such language of extremists is being spoken, the decline of Congress is definite, Kaushik alleged.

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