Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s acceptance of his “relationship” with a 43-year-old Rajya Sabha TV anchor and their plans to get married created a political storm on Wednesday with the opposition BJP targeting the 67-year-old former Madhya Pradesh chief minister on “morality”.
Singh confirmed the relationship on Twitter a day after his pictures with journalist Amrita Rai went viral on social media.
The senior Congress leader has recently thrown barbs over Narendra Modi’s marital status. He has also been an energetic critic of the BJP and Sangh Parivar, demanding ‘answers’ from them about their words and actions, and persistently seeking to embroil them in controversies.
On Wednesday, Singh told The Indian Express, “I have said what I wanted to. I don’t hide facts like Modi,” in an apparent reference to the marital status of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Earlier in the afternoon, Singh had tweeted, “I have no hesitation in accepting my relationship with Amrita Rai. She and her husband have already filed a mutual consent divorce case. Once that is decided we would formalise it. But I do condemn encroachment in our private life.”
Rai too posted on Twitter: “I have separated from my husband and we have filed a mutual consent divorce papers. After which I have decided to marry with Digvijaya Singh.”
She also tweeted, “My email/ computer been hacked & contents tampered with. It is a serious crime in India & encroachment of my privacy. I strongly condemn it.”
Within hours of the two sets of tweets, an anonymous envelope containing their photographs and copies of emails purportedly exchanged between them reached newspaper offices.
Singh’s wife passed away in February last year after prolonged illness.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, “A new definition of morality has been given by the actions of senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh Saheb. Those who preach lessons of morality should first look within themselves to see if they are practising what they are preaching to others. As far as the legal aspect of the matter of adultery is concerned, it is up to the husband of the lady to pursue the matter.”
Singh’s fellow AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed claimed he was not aware of the matter. Congress sources maintained that it would not have any impact on him or the party politically.
“He is in the Rajya Sabha and elections are over in Madhya Pradesh. Politically, this issue has no implications for the party,” another Congress general secretary said.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.