Digvijaya Singh is set to embark on yet another yatra. It is not spiritual this time, but a political one. With just months left for Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the senior Congress leader is planning to undertake a tour of the state to unify the party in the state, a move which could trigger a churn in Madhya Pradesh Congress politics.
Singh, an AICC general secretary, concluded his six-month long 3,100 km arduous Narmada Parikrama earlier this week. Back to active politics after the six-month break, Singh is itching to make his presence felt politically in his home state. Talking to The Indian Express, he said he was not interested in becoming the Chief Minister if the Congress is voted back to power.
“I have been there for two terms. Let new people come in. But I would like to see a change in Madhya Pradesh,” he said. Singh left it to Congress president Rahul Gandhi to decide on whether to project a Chief Ministerial face and who should it be if the party decides to project one.
“The leadership issue has to be decided by the Congress president. But I have decided that I will tour with some senior leaders who are not aspirants of any vidhan sabha seats, who are not aspirants of any kind… to stitch unity amongst the Congress workers at the grassroots level. We would like to go to every district and bring all factions together. After Narmada Parikrama, Madhya Pradesh Parikrama,” he said.
Singh said he would meet the Congress president soon to inform him about his plan. “Like my friends Mahendra Joshi (former Seva Dal chief) said sangat main pangat….” He said his Madhya Pradesh Parikrama would take two or three months. Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are scheduled to be held in November.
Singh, who took a break from politics during his yatra, said he was surprised by the support he got from “people across the board..from all political parties, groups and communities…”
Singh said Madhya Pradesh was yearning for change. “There is huge anger amongst the people, particularly farmers and common people over the price of the produce and because of no funds in the NREGA huge migration has taken place… in the online payment, the people particularly tribals are facing a huge problem… the tendu patta bonus has not yet been paid, dues not yet been settled,” he said.
On the question of projecting a chief ministerial face, he said “it works both ways”, arguing that Siddaramaiah was not named as the CM face in Karnataka elections in 2013 while Amarinder Singh was projected as the CM candidate in Punjab. “In a smaller state it is possible,” he said.
Asked about Sonia Gandhi’s recent comments that the BJP has managed to “convince” the people that Congress is a “Muslim party”, he said, “Even A K Antony had made that statement in the Antony committee report… Congress respects all religions. We are neither a Hindu party or a Muslim party or a Sikh party or a Christian party. We are a party which respects all religions….”