Amid uncertainty over whether Chhattisgarh would see leadership change, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday said “Kaka” is still alive.
Health minister TS Singh Deo, his rival in the state Congress, was present on the same stage.
Mr Baghel sometimes refers to himself as ‘kaka‘ (a local term for uncle) of youths and children in the state.
While addressing a function organized by the state unit of the Indian Pharmacists Association on World Pharmacists Day, he said Chhattisgarh is rich in medicinal plants, and his government will support those who want to manufacture medicines using them.
When some people from the gathering shouted “Bhupesh Kaka Zindabad,” a smiling chief minister responded, “Kaka abhi zinda hai (Uncle is still alive),” eliciting laughter from the crowd.
A video clip of Mr Baghel’s one-line remark was widely shared by his supporters on social media. The Chief Minister himself posted the clip on his Twitter and Facebook accounts with the caption “Kaka abhi zinda hai“.
कका अभी जिंदा है. pic.twitter.com/rtgBGphB2F
— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) September 25, 2021
Addressing the same program, Mr Singh Deo praised the chief minister for dealing with demands of all the departments including health with sensitivity.
Chhattisgarh has emerged as a model state on many fronts under Mr Baghel’s leadership, he said.
Later, when asked by reporters about the so-called power-sharing formula under which he and Mr Baghel were supposed to be chief minister for two and a half years each, Mr Singh Deo said the issue will be resolved soon.
“This question comes up everywhere. I believe it will be resolved soon…There is so much curiosity that only one question is asked at every press conference,” he said.
Mr Singh Deo further said if the issue was being discussed in public, the media only echoes it.
“I just want to appeal to people not to get too distracted. Ultimately we have to work for the welfare of Chhattisgarh,” he said.
The demand for a change of guard in Chhattisgarh reared its head after Mr Baghel completed two and a half years as chief minister in June 2021.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)