Shri Digvijay Singh was born on February 28, 1947 in the royal family of Raghogarh principality, presently in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. His father late Balbhadra Singh was former ruler of this earstwhile Indian princely state. He is an engineering graduate from G. S. Institute of Technology, Indore. He is an avid sports person with particular interest in cricket, tennis and squash.
Shri Singh joined politics at a young age of 24. Owing largely to his astute organising and leadership qualities, he rose from within the ranks of Congress Party to become President of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in the year 1984 and in 1992. He distinguished himself as Minister of State and later as a Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Shri Arjun Singh between 1980-84. Shri Digvijay Singh was elected Member of State Legislative Assembly in 1980. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1984 and 1991.
On December 7, 1993, he became Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. He has now become the longest serving Chief Minister in the history of Madhya Pradesh after winning people's mandate for the second consecutive term in the year 1998. Victory of the ruling Congress Party in the election in Madhya Pradesh was more significant because the political parties in power were losing elections in state after state in India in that year in the face of an anti-incumbency wave.
Central to Shri Digvijay Singh's vision is his firm belief in the abilities and potential of the common people. People are not the problem, but they are the solution is the cornerstone of his philosophy of development. Extensive decentralisation of powers, democratisation of society at the grassroots and reservation for women in different walks of public life are some of his notable contributions as Chief Minister. His mantra is participation of people in governance for sustainable socio-economic development.
Under his leadership Madhya Pradesh has bagged three pestigious international awards for development achievements. The Education Guarantee Scheme won the Gold Award of CAPAM (Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management) at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 for universalising access to primary education. Gyandoot project claimed the Stockholm Challenge Award in the year 2000 for using information technology in rural areas for the direct benefit of common people. Rogi Kalyan Samiti ( Patients' Welfare Society ) initiative has won Global Development Network Award for breathing a new life in government run hospitals and health institutions through people's participation.
In recognition of his efforts in conserving water and soil, Shri Singh was invited to participate in the World Water Forum held at The Hague in March 2000. He was also invited to share his experiences on a panel on poverty reduction strategies held as a part of Social Summit of the UN General Assembly in Geneva in July 2000. In recognition of his innovative style of governance, he was invited to participate in the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland in January 2001.
Shri Singh is among the handful of young politicians in India, who have a vision, political will and the ability to face the challenges of the new century and to shape a better future.