New Delhi:Congress ruled Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel sent his 86-year old father Nand Kumar Baghel to jail for allegedly making a hate speech against the Brahmins.
Nand Kumar Baghel, a convert Buddhist, was arrested on September 7 and sent to 15 days judicial custody for his remarks against Brahmins. His lawyer said the senior Baghel did not request bail and will appear before a court on September 21. The derogatory remarks were made by Nand Kumar Baghel during his visit to poll bound Uttar Pradesh last week where he heads a group for voter awareness. This is not the first time he has courted controversy with his remarks on the upper castes as a book authored by him on the issue was banned by the Congress government in 2000.
In his speech, Nand Kumar Baghel had called for a boycott of Brahmins describing them as foreigners and wanted them to be barred from entering villages. “Brahmins will be sent from the river Ganga to Volga. They are foreigners. They consider us untouchables and are snatching all our rights. I will urge villagers to not let Brahmins enter their villages,” he stated.
Before the BJP could make an issue of the hate speech particularly in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls in early 2022, Bhupesh Baghel distanced himself from his father’s remarks. “Nobody is above the law before my government, even if he is the Chief Minister’s 86-year-old father. As Chief Minister, I have the responsibility to maintain harmony among different communities. If he made a remark against a community, I am sorry. Legal action will be taken,” he told the media on September 5.
Bhupesh Baghel who is estranged from his father for two decades said everyone was aware of the ideological differences between them. “ Our political thoughts and beliefs are different. I respect him as his son, but as Chief Minister, I cannot forgive him for such mistakes which disturb public order, ” he maintained.
An FIR was registered against Nand Kumar Baghel on a complaint from the Sarv Brahmin Samaj. For Bhupesh Baghel, the controversy comes close after he managed to save the CM’s position to which his rival T Singh Deo had staked claim recently. Deo’s stand was the Congress leadership had assured of rotational Chief Ministership in December 2018 and Bhupesh Baghel’s term was done.