Madhya Pradesh Polls: Amid Seat Sharing Row With Samajwadi Party, Digvijaya Singh Says...

The former CM said he had suggested Mr Nath to leave four assembly seats for the SP, which wanted to field nominees in half a dozen segments.

Madhya Pradesh Polls: Amid Seat Sharing Row With Samajwadi Party, Digvijaya Singh Says...

Digvijaya Singh praised SP president Akhilesh Yadav for his leadership qualities. (File)

Bhopal:

Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh on Monday asserted his party colleague Kamal Nath wanted to have an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) for the next month's Madhya Pradesh assembly polls "with full honesty", but maintained he does not know how the talks for a tie-up between the two INDIA bloc members got derailed.

Digvijaya Singh praised SP president Akhilesh Yadav for his leadership qualities, but disagreed with Mr Nath, the Madhya Pradesh Congress head, over his choice of words while dismissing his (Yadav's) criticism for not leaving any seat in MP for the Uttar Pradesh-based party for the November 17 polls.

The former CM said he had suggested Mr Nath to leave four assembly seats for the SP, which wanted to field nominees in half a dozen segments.

Talking to reporters at his residence in Bhopal, he sought to downplay the war of wards between the Congress and the SP that erupted after the national outfit did not allocate any assembly seat to the Yadav-led party despite the two being constituents of the INDIA alliance.

"It is okay... friendly fights do take place between alliance partners, but I know the SP and Akhilesh will never go with the BJP," said the Rajya Sabha member.

After the SP president slammed the Congress leadership last week for not having an alliance in Madhya Pradesh, Mr Nath, while replying to questions from media persons on the tie-up issue, had reportedly said, "Chhodiye Akhilesh Vakhilesh" (just leave Akhilesh).

Digvijaya Singh disapproved of Kamal Nath's dismissal of Mr Yadav's criticism.

"I don't know how he (Nath) said so. One should avoid such reactions about a leader of the (INDIA) alliance," he said.

The Rajya Sabha member maintained there a discussion within the Congress over having a tie-up with the SP for the polls to the 230-member assembly.

The SP has released its own lists of candidates for more than two dozen seats.

Digvijaya Singh said "Nath had sent Congress leader Ashok Singh to me for a discussion with SP leaders led by Deep Narayan Yadav. We had a discussion in this room (of his residence in Bhopal). They (SP) had won one seat Bijawar (in Bundelkhand region in 2018 polls) and were second in two others. The SP wanted six seats, but I suggested Nath to leave four seats for the SP.

"Later, the matter went to the Congress Working Committee and the party's central leadership, but they left the issue of (tie-up with SP) to the state leadership." Digvijaya Singh said the INDIA grouping will contest the next Lok Sabha polls unitedly, but maintained issues related to state elections are different.

"I don't know where this talk (of alliance in MP) got derailed. But as far as Nath is concerned, I can say he wanted to have an alliance with the SP with full honesty (Kamal Nath ji poori imandar is samjhouta karna chahta the)," he said.

The Congress veteran recalled his strong bonding with SP patriarch and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister the late Mulayam Singh Yadav.

When pointed out that posters of Akhilesh Yadav as future Prime Minister were displayed in Lucknow, Mr Singh feigned ignorance about the matter.

Answering a question over the Congress fielding sitting MLA from Pichhore KP Singh from Shivpuri, part of the home turf of Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Rajya Sabha MP said his party colleague was a popular leader and also his relative.

Asked whether this was done to prevent Scindia from contesting from Shivpuri on a BJP ticket, Digvijaya Singh said, "Definitely. He (Scindia) ran away as he was scared (to face KP Singh)." Sitting BJP MLA from Shivpuri and state minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia, an aunt of Jyotiraditya Scindia, has opted out of contesting elections due to her ill health.

Earlier, Digvijaya Singh had publicly disapproved of Mr Nath's "tear clothes" remarks made in context of distribution of poll tickets, during an event organised to release the Congress manifesto last week.

A video of Mr Nath, where he is asking party men to "tear clothes" of his colleague Singh over denial of ticket to a leader from Shivpuri, fuelled talks of a rift in the party over selection of nominees.

In the viral video, Mr Nath is heard telling a group of people, said to be supporters of party leader Virendra Raghuvanshi, that he had left the issue of (selection of Raghuvanshi's seat) to Digvijaya Singh and his MLA-son Jaivardhan Singh.

The state Congress president is then heard telling the group to "tear clothes" of Digvijaya Singh (over the ticket denial issue).

Mr Raghuvanshi, a former BJP legislator, joined the Congress earlier this month. He had sought a Congress ticket from the Shivpuri assembly seat, but the party fielded KP Singh, a six-time MLA from Pichhore, from there.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

.