Digvijaya Singh's RS nomination has Congress divided; supporters cite unrelenting loyalty, critics blame him for Scindia's exit
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh evokes extreme reactions, through his speeches and actions. His nomination for a second term in the Rajya Sabha, amid controversy over Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the BJP, has also raised conflicting voices
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh evokes extreme reactions, through his speeches and actions. His nomination for a second term in the Rajya Sabha, amid controversy over Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the BJP, has also raised conflicting voices.
While a section of the party feels that his re-nomination is a sign of deterioration of the Congress, others feel Digvijaya has been rewarded for his dedication to the party.
Former two-term Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh filed his nomination in Bhopal on Thursday for the Rajya Sabha election on 26 March. Three Rajya Sabha seats from Madhya Pradesh, currently held by Digvijaya Singh, and BJP leaders Prabhat Jha and Satyanarayan Jatiya, are falling vacant next month.
The ongoing political drama in Madhya Pradesh over Rajya Sabha seats witnessed resignation of senior Congress leader Scindia along with 22 MLAs from the party on 10 March. Both Scindia and Digvijaya were in contention for the Congress berth to the Upper House.
As the party chose Digvijaya over Scindia, question is being raised over the Congress top leadership's obsession with the former.
"It's Digvijaya Singh who created the rift in the party in Madhya Pradesh, which got deepened and led to this imbroglio. After staying out of power for 15 years, Congress formed government and now within one-and-half years, it's going to lose it. We're trying to know why the party high command is so obsessed with Digvijaya? Whenever he had commented in public, it turned into a self-goal. In Kamal Nath government, he interfered in everything from transfer-posting to decision-making within the organisation. He has been acting as de-facto CM," ex-Congress spokesperson and a Scindia loyalist, Pankaj Chaturvedi told Firstpost.
"What was wrong in questioning unfulfilled promises made by the government? Right from Day One, attempts were made to corner Scindia ji. He was actively prevented by Digvijaya Singh faction from becoming state Congress chief and from getting the Rajya Sabha nomination. Now after Digvijaya’s nomination, the conspiracy has become evident," added Chaturvedi, who too has resigned along with Scindia.
One may recall in 2018, Digvijaya justified his absence from poll rallies by saying, "When I speak, Congress loses votes."
However, a big section in the party has reasons to justify why Digvijaya is indispensable for the top leadership of the Congress party. They attribute Congress' return to power in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years to Digvijaya.
"Digvijayaji single-handedly ensured Congress' victory in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years. One-and-half years ahead of the assembly election, besides undertaking Narmada Parikrama, he visited each constituency to connect with the people on ground. As on date, he has the backing of 65 to 70 MLAs and enjoys popularity across the state, but he never aspired to become CM, nor did he demanded the post for his son – a two-term MLA. The Congress leadership has rewarded Digvijayaji for his dedication and it's only he who has the guts to take the BJP head on in the Parliament," ex-PCC member and Congress worker, Bhujit Doshi told Firstpost.
"For a century, our family has been serving the Congress party but neither my forefathers nor I ever got ticket. Did I quit the party, even after being lured by the opposition? I believe, as you can’t change your parents, you can’t change your political ideology and party. But Scindia did. He shouldn’t forget that he lost from his home turf, unlike Digvijaya who showed courage to accept high command's order and contest from Bhopal, which is known as the BJP-RSS bastion," added Doshi.
Amid contrarian views aired by Congressmen, the political watchers view the situation as an attempt by the party leadership to safeguard the 'core group' of the Congress party.
"Congress is doing hara-kiri not only in Madhya Pradesh but in the country as well by going out of the way to nominate Digvijaya to Rajya Sabha for a second term. People of the state still remember how he caused damage to the state's economy, infrastructure and industries during his 10-year tenure as CM. In fact, it's an attempt to safeguard the innermost core – also the clique — within the Congress party that comprises Gandhi family and a few strong loyalists like Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, etc. Digvijaya enjoys strong support of Ahmed Patel due to which he has been re-nominated," political commentator and former editor, India Today Hindi, Jagdish Upasane told Firstpost.
From Digvijaya’s critics or his followers, almost all believe that during his tenure as CM, he filled the party's coffers in bad times and therefore he has aptly been rewarded.
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