The Congress party’s decision to nominate Digvijaya Singh for Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh has sent mixed signals in the state. After the party’s humiliating defeat in 2003 that ended his 10-year-rule as CM, Singh had vowed not to contest elections for 10 years. When his self-imposed embargo drew to an end in 2013, the AICC general secretary indicated that he was willing to contest the Lok Sabha polls if the party asked him to do so.
However, as the campaigning for the recent Assembly elections gathered momentum, Singh struck a different note saying that the sun was setting on his political career and it was time for young leadership to take over.
“In our sanskar and sanskriti no one worships the setting sun,’’ the 66-year-old had said while justifying his taking a seat behind young leaders on the dais. The remark also betrayed his frustration because his wings had been increasingly clipped. The only solace for him was his son Jaivardhan Singh’s victory from the family pocketborough of Raghogarh.
During the elections, many in the Congress spoke disparagingly of the senior leader. After the electoral reversal that reduced the party’s tally to 58 in the Assembly, leaders like Satyavrat Chaturvedi blamed the defeat on Singh’s alleged shenanigans.
“By sending him to the Upper House the party has ensured that he will be away from active politics for the next six years,’’ a party leader said confirming that Singh was mulling the possibility of contesting the general elections from Rajgarh, Sagar or Indore. “Maybe the party wants to use him in minority dominated seats outside MP for his anti-RSS image.’’
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Leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare said Rajya Sabha nominations were decided in New Delhi and he was clueless about Singh’s candidature. Katare had called the Congress Legislature Party meeting in Bhopal Monday without knowing what the MLAs would do. Very few MLAs turned up for the meeting. A former spokesperson said Singh’s nomination has not been received well by the workers. “When a senior leader like him doesn’t not dare to contest the general elections how could others be convinced to take the plunge because the message about impending defeat is very clear,’’ he said.