CLOSE ON heels of a ban on rallies organised by party leaders at personal level, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday convened a meeting between All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Digvijay Singh and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia to persuade them to shun animosity and work together for strengthening the party.
Sonia was understood to be unhappy over references made to late Madhavrao Scindia at Digvijay Singh’s Shivpuri rally and asked why the name of the prominent Congress leader should be dragged into petty politics.
It was after the Shivpuri rally that Gandhi issued directives for banning rallies by individual Congress leaders without the Pradesh Congress Committee’s (PCC) permission. She exhorted leaders to join hands to strengthen the party in the State to oust the BJP.
Sonia’s intervention came after Jyotiraditya Scindia on Saturday finally responded to darts aimed at him by former CM Digvijay Singh and advised the senior Congress leader to practise what he preached.
Scindia had chosen to ignore the barbs so far, saying the former CM was a senior leader. He did not name Singh on Saturday either, but sent a clear message that he could not turn a deaf ear to the unsavoury remarks that had turned personal.
“In life, everyone should look inwards, hold the mirror to their face… Only those who lead an ideal life have the right to advise,” Scindia said, a response to the former chief minister’s recent advice to the Guna MP to take everyone along.
If Singh had done what was required three years ago, the Congress would still have been in power in the state, he said, emphasising that he firmly believed that the party had to stand united under Sonia Gandhi’s leadership to unseat the BJP.
Scindia was addressing in Gwalior a press conference convened to brief reporters before leaving for the Jan Aakrosh rally attended by home minister Shivraj Patil and state Congress chief subhash Yadav at Joura.
In an oblique reference to Singh’s recent remarks questioning the Scindia family and father Madhavrao Scindia’s popularity, Scindia said the “family did not need anyone’s certificate; certainly not from those who do not practise what they preach.
“The public affection that this family has received is its dharohar,” he said. This was a point that Scindia also made at the Joura rally; the crowd cheered back in agreement.
To a question on other rallies attended by Singh despite the restriction on holding public meetings without authorisation from the state unit, Scindia said: “this is a clear proof of indiscipline”.
Scindia has also held several rallies in different parts of the state over the past few months but with permission from the PCC. In fact, PCC chief Subhash Yadav has been an integral part of his rallies.
He pointed that he had changed the venue of Saturday’s rally in view of this set of instructions from the party’s high command that also barred holding two meetings at the same venue.
Scindia said the party’s interests were being harmed due to indiscipline and it was important that mistakes made in the last state elections were not repeated. “The public is aware of what is happening,” he said.
The Guna MP advised Singh to play “bhishmapitamha” since, as a senior party leader, it was his responsibility to guide the Congress to victory.