Ahead of PM’s Jagdalpur visit, Congress calls for Bastar bandh

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Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel said the party was opposing the privatisation of the Nagarnar steel plant. File

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel said the party was opposing the privatisation of the Nagarnar steel plant. File
| Photo Credit: ANI

The ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh has called for a bandh in the Bastar region on October 3, a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the regional headquarters Jagdalpur. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said the party was opposing the privatisation of the Nagarnar steel plant. 

“If the Centre is not able to run the Nagarnar steel plant, then hand it over to the Chhattisgarh government and we will run it. The Central government said that in the process of disinvestment, such a clause has been inserted that the State government cannot take over this plant in place of private hands,” said Mr. Baghel at a press conference addressed by him and State Congress president Deepak Baij. 

Asserting that the sentiments of the people of the State and especially of the backward region Bastar were associated with the plant, Mr. Baij, who is also the Lok Sabha MP from Bastar, said handing it over to private hands would be against the immediate and long-term interests of Chhattisgarh. 

Public meeting

Mr. Modi is scheduled to address a public meeting in Jagdalpur during what would be his second visit to the State in three days. On September 30, he had addressed a rally in Bilaspur district of the poll-bound State. After Home Minister Amit Shah’s Dantewada visit to flag off one of the two ‘Parivartan yatras’ of the BJP was cancelled last month due to bad weather, the party is looking forward to Mr. Modi’s visit as it sees it as an opportunity to galvanise cadre in the tribal belt. 

While the Congress swept Bastar — often described as a region that holds key to power in Raipur with 12 seats — it also won one of the two seats [Bastar, the other being Kanker] in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections despite the BJP winning nine out of 11 seats in Chhattisgarh. The opposition BJP has described the Congress’ bandh call as a sign of its nervousness. 

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