Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Friday said that the party's chances in the forthcoming Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh were linked to whether or not the ruling BJP "strikes a deal with the Maoists".
The comments of the flamboyant Congress leader, known to shoot off his mouth, is unlikely to go well with the BJP in Chhattisgarh where chief minister Raman Singh is attempting to retain power for the second term.
Polling in Maoist-infested Chhattisgarh has been scheduled in two phases on November 11 and 19.
Speaking to Hindustan Times on board an Indigo flight to Chhattisgarh's capital, Singh said that the Congress would do well in the polls, specially in the Bastar region, if the "BJP does not strike a deal with the Maoists, which they are known to do".
Bastar is the most Maoist-infested district in the state where the Leftist rebels' writ runs large in many areas. In the areas where the Maoists hold sway, voters are known to follow diktats of the rebels.
In fact, the Election Commission has identified as many as 3,249 polling booths as hyper-sensitive and decided to install over one thousand cameras at these polling stations.
Singh was obviously referring to the fact that in the last elections in 2008, the BJP had managed to win 11 out of the 12 seats in Bastar. The Congress had bagged the remaining seat.
The Congress leader, however, did not elaborate on his allegations. He also refused to reveal names of senior party leaders from Delhi who would be campaign in the state.
He also asserted that his visit to the poll-bound state was personal as he would be attending the funeral of Padmini Shukla, wife of three-time chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh Shyama Charan Shukla. Padmini Shukla died on October 12.
Incidentally, Singh's own state Madhya Pradesh - which he had once ruled as chief minister for two terms - is also among the five states going to the polls in November-December.
Perched comfortably on seat number 18-C, Singh also fielded questions from fellow-passengers before switching on his iPod and then his iPad.
The book of his choice: Noam Chomsky's 'Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy'.
"I like travelling because it gives me time to catch on reading and listening to music," he told added.
Whether the Congress manages to catch up with the BJP in the polls is, of course, a different matter.