Chhattisgarh minister TS Singh Deo, locked in a turf war with Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, on Saturday resigned from the Panchayat and Rural development department, hinting that he was sidelined in the government though he will continue to hold the other four portfolios.
The development comes over a year ahead of the Assembly elections in the Congress-ruled state. Singh Deo will, however, remain the minister for Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Twenty Point Implementation and Commercial Tax (GST) departments.
The sudden development is seen as the fallout of an old political rivalry between Baghel and Singh Deo, who had tried to project him as the chief minister in the past. "I have resigned from the Panchayat and Rural Development Department," he said.
In a four-page resignation letter to the chief minister, Singh Deo cited various reasons stating that he was unable to fulfil the targets of the department as per the vision of the Jan Ghoshna Patra (poll manifesto), given the "current scenario". He said despite his repeated requests, funds were not sanctioned under the PM Awas Yojna, as a result of which houses could not be constructed for eight lakh people in the state.He also claimed the draft of rules under the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act prepared by his department and sent to a committee was changed without taking him into confidence. Under the Mukhyamantri Samagra Gramin Vikas Yojna, a committee of secretaries headed by the chief secretary was constituted against the standard protocol for granting final approval to works.