Thursday, 2 July 2020

Disgrace Of Digvijay—A Petty Politics

Updated: October 5, 2013 4:13 pm

You reap what you sow! Digvijay Singh, possibly the senior most Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh and three times its chief minister was literally thrown out from a meeting addressed by Jyotiraditya Scindia the youngest leader. He was not even permitted into the Press Conference and this time he was pushed and shoved. It was like being subjected to physical assault.

Such maha-insult in front of people who used to touch his feet and before media persons who would rush to him for comments all the time, Scindia could not have dared without a nod from Rahul Gandhi. Imagine just a few weeks earlier he was eyes and ears of the same Rahul. How destiny prevails and how one’s luck changes overnight!

True the relations between Scindia’s father the late Maharaja Madhavrao and Digvijay Singh were far from cordial. It must be the same between Singh and Jyotiraditya. But the latter would most possibly take it out on Singh by not letting him in his meetings. He must have been signalled to do that. But if Rahul did that it was not very nice.

If this ill-treatment of Digvijay Singh was actually done after a nod or signal from Rahul, it speaks very poorly Gandhi scion. This man remained loyal to the party despite temptations offered to him when V.P. Singh was prime minister. Yet he stuck with Rajiv who was then in the opposition. Rahul had already shown his anger or disappointment when he made Scindia even in charge of the election campaign. And if Rahul had the information that Singh was left with no influence in the state, he could have said so to Singh.

I have known Singh since for almost 28 years. It was Arjun Singh who was chief minister in 1985 who asked me to meet Singh, he was as far as memory goes then minister of irrigation. I found him very suave and polite, all signs of a good family and culture. We talked of farming and how irrigation was important for good crop. I came out of the meeting very happy.

Since then we met occasionally whenever he came to Delhi. Once I was invited for lunch by him, then he was an MP, and lived in a house on Lodhi Road. I knew that Rajiv was a bit with him, for whatever reason. I had no idea about that. So during lunch I said casually, why don’t you join V.P. Singh. He looked at me sharply, thought about it for a minute or so then he said please give me two years. That ended the issue.

A little later, he became chief minister. And with his typical sense of wit, he rang up and laughingly said, who was right I or you. I said something like “luckily you”. A few months later I was to leave for London on my posting. He flew down from Bhopal to give me farewell lunch. This man was very humble and soft-spoken. He could not have become chief minister thrice without any virtue.

What went wrong? With the foul-mouthed comments, casting aspersions of worst kind, and showing an inexplicable tilt towards Muslims, he became very unpopular and a large segment of people would use abusive words about him. This sentiment continued to rise. He was no more crude and rude in his comments than Manish Tewari but there can be no comparison in the stature. This is why any crude remark from Singh angered and anguished more. One always used to ask what happened to the Singh of a few years ago.

He went to Azamgarh from where many fundamentalists come. But Singh declared that the official version of shooting at Batala House was false and the fact is that the police staged an encounter. Regarding the award-winning Inspector Sharma being shot during the shoot-out he reportedly said he was shot in the back by his own men, might be by mistake. These comments enraged the whole country.

The remarks against Baba Ramdev and a surfeit of them might have been in favour of his party but they alienated more voters. A few times party spokespersons would deny his remarks saying that it was not the party’s comments but his personal remarks. He might have thought he was helping the Party but in fact he was alienating more and more electorate. Was this the reason for overlooking Singh and choosing a very young Scindia for even campaign in charge?

There is rather more logical reason for sealing the fate of Singh with the Gandhis’. I have been writing for long that there has to be near the Gandhis someone wanting to ruin Singh. In recent past he was first given the responsibility for Bihar, where the Congress did not exist at all. The Congress naturally lost and Singh got a few black marks.

After Bihar he was given UP to take care of. There too the Congress hardly existed. The party lost and Singh got a few more black marks. He was then given the responsibility of Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile the party decided to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, carve out Telengana. As party in-charge of AP, much of the closing negotiations on the issue with various sides were handled by Singh. The Congress should have been soaking in glory for the Telengana decision but the reality was far from it.

The Telengana decision has caused more damage than the party estimated. Andhra is on the boil ever since that decision and even many Congressmen don’t support the decision. For once the Congress had banked on Singh to come out with a right outcome. He failed like all others in the High Command. All the parties in the division of Andhra, Telengana and Hyderabad are unhappy with the proposed split. For all we know this decision may never come to be implemented. This failure was again partially dumped on Singh. And that sent him into political oblivion?

But no reason can justify the treatment meted out to him. The disgraceful, deplorable end of a man who strode across Madhya Pradesh like a Colossus! Madhav Rao and Arjun Singh would be smiling wherever they are! But he has not been publically sacked from the responsibility of Andhra. Is that the light at the end of the Tunnel?

Could that be! He has not so far been barred from contesting in the 2014 election. He has not stopped making his usual abrasive comments. He said after all these incidents that the BJP was responsible for the killing of Muslims in Muzaffarnagar.

So Singh persists with his abrasive and rude comments. Except that by design or by coincidence this particular comment suits the Party. Its official line being the same!

Is he then back to be Party’s official spokesman? The whole incident of barring him from meetings might possibly be an-one time aberration!

Even then it smacks of petty politics!

By Vijay Dutt

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