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No ‘common issues’ — Chhattisgarh doesn’t want to be in zonal council with Uttarakhand

CM Bhupesh Baghel tells Amit Shah Chhattisgarh has no direct geographical, social affinity with Uttarakhand to discuss common issues at Central Zonal Council.

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Raipur: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel wants his state out of the Central Zonal Council (CZC) as it does not have any territorial, geographical or social similarity with Uttarakhand, which is also part of the council.  

Baghel said he made his views clear to Home Minister Amit Shah during the CZC meet at Raipur earlier this week, adding a comprehensive dialogue on development of the member states cannot take place with one of them having complete territorial and social differences. 

The CZC has four member states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. When it was formed, Baghel said, the council only had Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as the two states were big in size and shared common regional identities. 

“With time, however, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand were carved out of these states. I told the council head and Union home minister that we have no direct contact or geographical and social affinity with Uttarakhand that could provide us reasons for talks over some common problems and issues,” Baghel said. 

He added that he has asked the home minister to incorporate Chhattisgarh in a zonal council that has states with common problems, territorial and social affinities. 

“Chhattisgarh is surrounded by seven states including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand. We must be kept with these states as we share common issues and problems with them,” Baghel said.   

Also read: Chhattisgarh CM Baghel’s advice to Nirmala Sitharaman — put money in common person’s pocket

‘Can’t discuss Naxalism issues’

Baghel claimed that the discussion on Naxalism in Chhattisgarh could not take place in the council meeting mainly because Uttarakhand has no such issues. “What could have been discussed on Naxalism with Uttarakhand?” Baghel asked. “There is no naxal problem in Uttarakhand.”

He, however, made no such reference to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, both states that have no serious Naxal issues.

Baghel’s request came a day after Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had on his arrival in Raipur slammed Baghel’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). 

Rawat said Baghel’s stand that he will not implement the CAA and won’t fill NRC papers was funny and had no locus standi when the central government has already enacted a law. 

Also read: No question of NRC in Chhattisgarh, state is secure: CM Bhupesh Baghel

‘Shah’s silence on Jhiram Ghati massacre hurting families’  

The Chhattisgarh CM also said he brought up before Shah the Maoist massacre of Congress leaders at Jhiram Ghati in 2013 that left 27 party leaders dead. Those killed included the then PCC president Nand Kumar Patel, senior party leader Vidya Charan Shukla and party heavyweight from Bastar region Mahendra Karma. 

Baghel said he sought the case diary of the investigation report prepared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) but Shah remained silent — a stance, the CM added, was hurting the families of the victims. 

Baghel said he mentioned before Shah that the state government must be allowed to investigate the matter as NIA has found nothing in its report. “The Union minister was informed that we have written three letters to the NIA followed by a meeting of our officials with their apex investigating agency counterparts but the report submitted by the central agency has nothing in it,” Baghel said.

“So hand over the case diary and the matter to us since it’s the state government that recommended that the Jhiram Ghati attack be investigated by the Centre. But there was no reply from the home minister on our demand,” he added. 

Also read: Echoes of Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ in Chhattisgarh as Congress CM Baghel hosts own radio show


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