first_imgNAGPUR: The Chhattisgarh unit of the Congress party denied rumours of change in its leadership and claimed status quo would be maintained. Speculation was rife in the State after B.K. Hariprasad, AICC general secretary in-charge of Chhattisgarh, tendered his resignation on Monday owning moral responsibility for the party’s dismal performance in the Odisha civic polls. The resignation triggered talks of Mr. Hariprasad being replaced by Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik. When Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Commitee president Bhupesh Baghel flew to Delhi to meet party leaders on Tuesday, there were rumours of him being replaced too. Some quarters also predicted a possible return of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi almost nine months after he quit the Congress to form his own party.However, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi put all speculation to rest by refusing to accept Mr. Hariprasad’s resignation on Wednesday. Chhattisgarh Congress spokesperson R.P. Singh said, “Mr. Hariprsad was asked to continue in his post after an hour-long meeting in Delhi on Wednesday with Mr. Gandhi. Mr. Baghel and senior Congress leader Motilal Vohra also attended the meeting. Mr. Gandhi made it clear that there was no question of Mr. Baghel’s removal.” On Wednesday night, on his return from Delhi, Mr. Baghel was given a rousing welcome by supporters at Raipur airport. Mr. Baghel asked party workers to ignore rumours in the media and on social media platforms. However, a senior Congress leader revealed on the condition of anonymity that the State leadership and Mr. Hariprasad could be replaced with new faces once Congress president Sonia Gandhi returned to India.He said, “The changes may not be Chhattisgarh centric. After the Uttar Pradesh election results, there might be new faces in many States. Mr. Hariprasad could not have been replaced in the absence of the Congress president. The status quo will be maintained until her return and the party in Chhattisgarh and other States could see a change of guard.” The speculation about Mr. Jogi’s possible return to the Congress also was fuelled by his trip to Delhi. Mr. Singh said the party had planned to file a criminal case against Mr. Jogi and would not take him back again. “The AICC had asked the State Congress to file a criminal case against Mr. Jogi in the Antagad tape scandal. Our party believes that he was involved in a criminal conspiracy against the party. He has admitted that he won’t return. There is only one party Mr. Jogi can go to and that is the BJP. He is a close friend of Chief Minister Raman Singh.” Mr. Jogi also ruled out any possibility of his return. “Ajit Jogi doesn’t look back. I have nothing to do with that party [the Congress]. It is not possible,” Mr. Jogi told reporters at Raipur airport on Wednesday night after returning from Delhi.Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition T.S.Singh Deo said he would quit politics if Mr. Jogi returned to the Congress. “I don’t think he will return, but the party high command takes all the decisions. It is not possible for me to work along with him,” Mr. Singh Deo told reporters in Ambikapur.last_img