Digvijaya Singh On Congress Drive To Overcome Madhya Pradesh Factionalism

Digvijaya Singh ruled himself out for the chief ministerial race. He said new people should come in.

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Digvijaya Singh said an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party will help.

New Delhi:  Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has admitted to factionalism in the Madhya Pradesh unit of the party but says he, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath had to join hands in order to survive politically in the state where the Congress has been out of power since 2003. Speaking to NDTV, Mr Singh, a two-time former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, said, "Factionalism will always be there when there are ambitious political people working together but there is a limit to that kind of factionalism. We all realise that we've been out of power for 15 years and the people of Madhya Pradesh have suffered."

Narrating an incident, he said, "I had gone to a district headquarters where the chaukidaar of that circuit house who I have known for years, quietly came and told me 'saab, hum sarkar ko badalna chahte hain (we want to change the government)... you all come together'... this is the sentiment of the common man in Madhya Pradesh."

Elections are due in Madhya Pradesh by the end of this year.

Mr Singh, however, ruled himself out for the Chief Minister's post. "Totally ruled out," he said, "I was the Chief Minister for 10 years. New people should come in... I'm not a contestant or a candidate for the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh."

Asked if the Congress should declare a Chief Ministerial candidate, Mr Singh said it should ideally be left to the new legislators to choose a leader. "It cuts both ways. There are instances where it has helped. In some places it hasn't helped. In 1993, I was never declared as Chief Minister candidate. In (the) 2004 election, Dr Manmohan Singh was not Prime Ministerial face... it can't be said that one has to declare a Chief Minister candidate to win an election."

On an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP in the state, Mr Singh said it would help. Kamal Nath has been talking to Mayawati for a tie-up.

On the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS' invite for former President Pranab Mukherjee, Digvijaya Singh said, "The RSS is trying to sort of change its image. And they have suddenly realised that even in the best of situation, they have not crossed 31 per cent votes. So they want to come and occupy the Congress space which has been there since 1952 elections. So they are trying to change their image from a radical, fundamentalist, fanatic group to a modern, liberal group and this is what I think was the reason they invited Mr Pranab Mukherjee."

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