Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel turned emotional on Sunday as he passed the baton of the state Congress chief to his successor Mohan Markam. Baghel's eyes were welled up and he had to held back his tears while addressing the Congress workers during a heart-rending farewell event in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur this morning. In a video, which is doing rounds on social media platforms, the chief minister can be seen pausing amidst his speech before he takes off his spectacles and wipes his tears.
Taking a stroll down memory lane, Baghel, in his farewell address said, "I was appointed to the post by Rahul Gandhiji after we lost the election in 2013. 2014 Lok Sabha elections were near. We were worried about the party's prospects in the state after the 2014 election. The fight we party leaders started after June 2014 continued till the time we came to power in Chhattisgarh".
In the 1 minute 6 seconds long video Congress workers are also heard chanting, "Bhupesh Baghel zindabad, Congress party zinbabad (Long live Bhupesh Baghel, long live Congress party)".
#WATCH Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel who was also the Congress President of the party's state unit, tears up remembering the contribution of members, at an event passing the post to Mohan Markam in Raipur. (June 29) pic.twitter.com/O70Uuchu8P— ANI (@ANI) June 29, 2019
On Friday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi appointed tribal leader Mohan Markam as head of the party's Chhattisgarh unit, replacing Baghel. Markam's elevation to the post comes at a time when the party is coming to terms with its debacle in the Lok Sabha polls. In 2019 general elections, the Congress could win just two parliamentary seats from the state despite coming to power with a massive mandate in the December 2018 Assembly polls.
Baghel, who took over as the state Congress chief in 2014, led the party to an emphatic win in the 2018 Assembly elections, dislodging the Raman Singh-led BJP government by winning 68 out of the 90 seats that went to polls. Besides, the Chhattisgarh chief minister is also credited with rebuilding the party after most of the state leadership was wiped out in a Maoist attack in May 2013.
Markam's appointment by Gandhi comes after Baghel last week requested the Congress chief to appoint someone to head the state unit as he has his hands full as the chief minister. However, he was asked to continue as the Chhattisgarh Congress chief until his successor is announced.