Raipur: Amid the probe by the Enforcement Directorate in the alleged coal levy scam and the arrest of a few bureaucrats and businessmen, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday called the action “vendetta politics” and said he was prepared for more such moves by the Centre.

He also slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government for not releasing funds to Chhattisgarh, adding he would not keep silent over such injustice to his state.

In an interview with PTI, Baghel, who completed four years in office on December 17, said the schemes of his government were aimed at strengthening the rural economy and creating self-employment but admitted there were several poll promises which are yet to be fulfilled.

“We welcome action against corruption. But if the action is politically motivated then it is wrong. Whenever I campaigned in elections in other states, raids were conducted in Chhattisgarh by the central agencies,” Baghel said.

The ED has been probing a money laundering case linked to the alleged levy of money on coal and mining transporters in Chhattisgarh. It has arrested five persons so far, including IAS officer Sameer Vishnoi and Deputy Secretary in the CM’s office Soumya Chaurasia.

“The BJP does not have acceptability among the people of Chhattisgarh anymore. Anticipating reverses in the Assembly polls (scheduled for late next year) due to the good governance of the Congress government here, the BJP has roped in central agencies to harass and defame my government. Such acts should not be done in politics,” he asserted.

Hinting at the state polls, Baghel said these central probe agencies would become “more active in the coming months” and claimed he was “mentally prepared for it”.

The 61-year-old firebrand Congress leader, who has been vocal against BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leadership, said he shares good relations personally with the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister, Defence Minister and all Union ministers.

“But it is my responsibility to fight in the interest of the state. I can speak, write letters and fight for my state’s rights. I don’t consider anything wrong in it. They (Centre) haven’t given Chhattisgarh’s money pending in connection with GST, coal royalty and central excise. If injustice is meted out to us then we will definitely fight,” he asserted.

Baghel said farm loan waiver, procurement of paddy at Rs 2,500 per quintal, rural industrial parks and procurement of minor forest produce and cow dung have been steps taken in the interest of common people.

“We have done a lot in these four years but not everything. There is always room for growth. We have just started and we need to take it further. We took up tasks in adverse circumstances (referring to the COVID-19 pandemic).

However, there are many promises that are yet to be fulfilled,” the CM admitted.

He said his government had achieved considerable success against the Maoists but admitted it was tough to predict when the menace would completely end.

“Left Wing Extremism has now been reduced only to some pockets (in the state). The government has pushed Naxalites on the back foot with its three pronged strategy of trust, development and security. However it is tough to say when the menace will come to an end,” he said.

By Shadab

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