National

It’s advantage BJP as Congress squabbles in MP

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Congress feuds polarising political discourse in poll-bound State

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s recent outburst over “saffron terror” and the alacrity with which the BJP has seized it is seen as yet another instance of the intra-party feuds in the Congress benefiting the BJP.

The BJP has demanded that Divijaya Singh be sacked from the Congress because of his remark that Hindu “terrorists” in the past have been associated with the RSS. While the BJP has been pressing the issue, the traditionally cordial relations between leaders of the two rivals — the BJP and the Congress — are now being viewed by a section in the Congress as actually helping the BJP in polarising the discourse in the run-up to the polls.

Digvijaya Singh and the present Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have followed a pattern set by their predecessors, former Congress CMs Arjun Singh and Motilal Vora, who had cordial relations with the BJP’s Leaders of the Opposition, namely Sunderlal Patwa and Kailash Joshi.

Twists and turns

Last week, when Singh asserted, twice, that all the Hindu “terrorists” arrested in the country, including Nathuram Godse, had links with the Sangh Parivar, the Congress leaders were stunned and those in the BJP rejoiced — the former suspected Singh of trying to consolidate the Hindu vote in favour of the BJP, the latter were ‘grateful’ this self-goal had shifted the attention from the many ‘failures’ of the BJP Government.

Amid this wheels-within-wheels politics and speculation that the BJP’s leadership might postpone by a few months the Assembly polls in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, due by December, to coincide with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, politics in MP is taking interesting twists and turns.

In the intensely faction-ridden Congress, according to party sources, Digvijaya’s “anti-RSS” rhetoric might have been ‘influenced’ by his own family’s political history: his father, Raja Balbhadra Singh, seen as a Hindu Mahasabha sympathiser, won the Raghogarh Assembly seat in 1951 as an Independent candidate supported by the newly-formed Bharatiya Jan Sangh; Digvijaya’s younger brother, Laxman Singh, was a BJP MP from Rajgarh (2004-09).

Digvijaya Singh, 71, is not the only Congress leader apparently ‘helping’ a buffeted BJP in an election year. Even the newly-appointed State party chief Kamal Nath was embarrassed when his photographs with Chouhan — hugging and laughing — went viral. Another Congress leader embarrassing his party is Ajay Singh, the current Leader of the Opposition in the MP Assembly. His mother, Saroj Kumari, wife of Congress veteran, the late Arjun Singh, recently moved a Bhopal court accusing her sons, Ajay Singh and Abhimanyu Singh, of domestic violence, harassment and forcing her out of their house. The court will hear the case on July 19. Saroj Kumari is also Digvijaya’s sister.

Another reason for the Congress’s various troubles in Madhya Pradesh is the lack of a strong cadre across this culturally-heterogeneous State. The Congress, despite its long rule preceding the BJP’s, has remained faction-ridden from the very beginning. Unlike the BJP, which has a uniting cadre in the RSS and a homogeneous ideological identity, the Congress’s party structure is overshadowed by these larger-than-life leaders with their disparate support base and personality clashes.

Published on June 21, 2018
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