Digvijaya Singh: Spent force or a kingmaker?

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Digvijaya Singh. Photo: Shailendra Pandey
Digvijaya Singh Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Of all Congress leaders from Madhya Pradesh, Digvijaya Singh is perhaps the tallest in stature. His appeal cuts across the length and breadth of Madhya Pradesh and he has been a success story for the Congress in that region. He became the Madhya Pradesh Congress Chief in 1990 and ensured that the infighting within the Congress was managed efficiently. Thus, a united Congress was able to ensure that the BJP gets thrown out of power for ten years. He served as Chief Minister from 1993-2003. Singh evokes extreme reactions from both his party members and from the public at large. Some see him as a savior, while others feel his arrogance as Chief Minister kept the Congress out of power in the state. At present, he is the General Secretary of the AICC and in charge of key states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. He has also worked in key positions within the AICC hierarchy. Currently he is not a contender for the post of CM. Instead he is keen on getting his son elected from his hometown, Raghogarh, as an MLA.

After losing the elections in 2003, Digvijaya Singh had taken a vow to not take up any public office for a period of ten years. And he has stuck to that promise.

Singh is part of the six-member committee that has been appointed under the chairmanship of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to coordinate the preparations for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2014. He also serves on most of the party’s committees that are responsible for taking important political decisions. Currently, as General Secretary, he looks after the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. From 2004 onwards, as General Secretary, he handled the states of Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

As General Secretary in charge of the states, he has not been able to make much of an impact. He was responsible for Bihar, but could not ensure an alliance between Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, which finally led to Nitish Kumar forming the government. In Uttar Pradesh also, he was not able to increase the Congress’ seats. This election was important for Rahul Gandhi and Singh acted as his Chief Advisor.

Singh hails from the Bhopal Division, where the total number of seats number 25, out of which the Congress has six seats at present. There are five districts in this division: Bhopal, Sehore, Vidisha, Raisen and Rajgarh. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan hails from Sehore while Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has Rajgarh and Raisen as his bastions. The main fight here is between Digvijaya Singh and Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

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