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Digvijaya Singh goes on Narmada tour in MP, but will that revive his career in Congress

Having traversed about 3500 kilometers on foot, the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister is expected to end his self-proclaimed “personal and spiritual” yatra on April 9

bhopal Updated: Apr 06, 2018 16:21 IST
Ranjan
Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Digvijaya Singh,AICC general secretary,BJP
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who is on a Narmada Parikrama, will end his six-month-long journey on April 9 (HT file photo )

As former chief minister Digvijaya Singh completes his self-proclaimed “personal and spiritual” yatra, speculation is ripe about his likely role in the Congress party ahead of crucial assembly elections in the state.

Singh, along with his wife Amrita Rai, is currently on a Narmada Parikrama (circumambulation of Narmada river), which started on September 30 last year from Joteshwar Ashram at Barman Khurd in Narsinghpur district.

Traversing afoot about 3500 kilometers, he is expected to end the journey on April 9 at the same spot form where he had begun more than six months ago.

It’s now to be seen what political path he would chart after completing the yatra-- more so as he had been apparently sidelined in the party after the “Goa fiasco” where the BJP managed to form a coalition government despite the Congress emerging as the largest party in the assembly elections held in February last year. Singh was party in-charge in the coastal state.

Singh, general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC), has made it clear that he will not quit politics and as a party soldier will try to discharge effectively any duty assigned to him.

AICC general secretary and Congress’s Madya Pradesh in-charge Deepak Babaria recently told media persons that Singh is willing to arrange funds for the party for the assembly elections to be held later this year.

“Digvijaya Singh will work in Madhya Pradesh to strengthen the party and help it form the government in the state,” added state Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra.

However, many in the Congress question his utility and suggest Singh undertaken Narmada yatra to keep himself politically relevant.

During the Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s Satyagrah in Bhopal after five farmers were killed in a police firing in Mandsaur last year, Singh had announced at a public meeting that he would take a back seat and concentrate on strengthening the party from behind the scene.

“He should keep a low profile as whenever he comes on the forefront, the BJP gets a chance to attack him and the party. But suddenly, in a U-turn, he announced his Narmada Parikrama, which many viewed as a political move,” said a senior Congress leader seeking anonymity.

He pointed out that the BJP had been showcasing before voters Singh’s ‘misrule’ in every election since 2003, the year the saffron party dislodged Singh’s Congress government in the state.

“His words didn’t match his action. And if he moves around in the state after his Narmada parikrama for any mass contact programme or meets party workers and leaders it will in a way help the BJP,” the Congress leader said.

The ruling BJP though claimed it is not bothered about what role Singh would play for his party in the elections, took a dig at his Narmada yatra.

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said Singh embarked on the yatra to exert pressure on the Congress central leadership to give him any important assignment in the state in view of the assembly elections.

First Published: Apr 06, 2018 16:20 IST