To look for the method in Digvijaya Singh's madness is to search for a needle in a run-down dispensary. It may not be there, but we keep hoping that it'll turn up somewhere. After Wednesday's Mumbai blasts, Mr Singh, at no prompting, said that he did not rule out the involvement of members of the Sangh parivar in the attacks. At a time when the UPA government is being careful about jumping to conclusions about the identity of the perpetrators of the blasts, the Congress general secretary has injected a juicy 'communal' element in the whole affair. Then, on Sunday, he followed things up by reportedly assaulting some BJP workers who were protesting against his earlier remarks by waving black flags in Ujjain.
What has become an established trend by now is Mr Singh's penchant to be seen as the established anti-BJP figure and resident 'secular fundamentalist' — a Congress version of motormouth Praveen Togadia of the VHP and a successor to the now-in-the-wilderness Mani Shankar Aiyar. And if the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister has a kavach-cum-kundal that has given him full protection to make himself sound like an anti-Praveen-bhai, that protection comes from his proximity to fellow Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and the tag team's raids into Fortress Uttar Pradesh.
While Mr Singh's remarks — whether it be about 'Osama-ji' or 'Hindu terror' — or his strategy to turn Bhatta-Parsaul village into a Nandigram have made him a loose cannon within his party, that he may appeal to many fence-sitting Muslims in UP isn't far-fetched. As the leader in charge of pulling the Congress out of its morass in the state in which Amethi and Rae Bareli reside, the 2012 assembly is a good firing range. If nothing comes of his sound and fury, the failure of Messers Singh and Gandhi will (quickly be made to) be forgotten. But if it clicks.... Thankfully for Mr Singh, his dimpled smile and happy-go-lucky demeanour continues to keep everyone guessing what he is really upto — and whether the party president has given him her blessings to pull out all the stops or not. In this confusion, Mr Singh hopes to find the support of an electorate that will get suckered by that old parlour trick of votebank politics.