New Delhi, March 21: A group of Congress leaders is working to finish senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh politically in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, say sources.
Singh was once considered close to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi but is now in political hibernation after being sidelined in the party.
His bad times had started in 2017 when Congress could not form the government in Goa despite being the single largest party with 17 seats. Digvijaya was Congress' Goa in-charge when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 13 seats formed a coalition government in the state.
Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Luizinho Faleiro had blamed Digvijaya Singh and Goa Screening Committee Chief K.C. Venugopal for the failure of the Congress to form the government in Goa.
Claiming that the Congress had the support of 21 MLAs to form the government, Faleiro said that it was Singh who suggested that as per the convention the single-largest party Congress should wait for the invite from Goa Governor to form the government.
The invite did not come as the BJP staked claim to form the government and proved the majority on the floor of the House.
Interestingly, then Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had also thanked Digvijaya Singh for failing to cobble together a majority despite the Congress winning the largest number of assembly seats.
Later, Digvijaya Singh blamed the BJP for using money power to woo the smaller parties and independents to form the government in Goa.
But, then Congress President Sonia Gandhi did not buy his reasoning and removed him as the All India Congress Committee General Secretary in-charge of Goa and Karnataka, which was going for polls in 2018. However, Sonia continued Singh as general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
However, Digvijaya was also relieved from the duties as in-charge of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana last year. It was reported that he was asked by the Congress high-command to focus on upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly election in 2019. But, he was not given any significant responsibility in the recently held Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections where Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia led the elections and formed the government by dethroning 15-year-rule of the BJP. Both Kamal Nath and Scindia hailed from Madhya Pradesh.
A video went viral during the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections wherein Digvijaya was heard telling Congress workers in an informal chat that he refrained from campaigning and giving poll speeches as they end up costing Congress crucial votes.
A Congress leader tells OneIndia on the condition of anonymity that anti-Digvijaya lobby in Congress has used Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath to finish their bÊte noire politically by challenging him to fight Lok Sabha election from a tough seat in Madhya Pradesh.
Kamal Nath told reporters last Saturday at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh that he had requested Digvijaya Singh that if he wanted to contest Lok Sabha polls then he should do so from the toughest seats of the state where the Congress did not win elections since the last 30-35 years.
Sources say that Scindia, who is also considered as a political opponent of Digvijaya Singh, has also backed Kamal Nath's demand.
"Kamal Nath and Scindia know that the Rajya Sabha term of Digvijaya Singh is ending next year in April and he will be fighting Lok Sabha elections. By challenging him to fight from a tough seat, they want to ensure that their political opponent should not get a ticket from Rajgarh, which is a bastion of Digvijaya Singh," said the Congress leader.
Digvijaya, who is politically very astute, on Monday thanked Kamal Nath for considering him suitable to contest from the seats, where the party has low prospects.
Singh tweeted that he was ready to contest the election from any seat if asked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Singh also wrote that the people of Raghogarh made him victorious in 1977 when there was a wave in favour of the Janata Party.
Digvijaya Singh had won Raghogarh seat in Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections in 1977. Raghogarh is one of the assembly constituencies of Rajgarh Lok Sabha seat. Singh won Rajgarh Lok Sabha seat in 1984 and 1991 elections. When he resigned from Lok Sabha in 1993 to become Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister then his brother Lakshman Singh won 1994 bye-election. Lakshman Singh continued to win Rajgarh Lok Sabha seat in 1996, 1998, and 1999 as the Congress candidate. However, he won the seat as the BJP candidate in 2004. But he lost Rajgarh Lok Sabha elections as the BJP candidate in 2009 when Congress candidate Narayan Singh Amlabe defeated him. In 2013, Digvijaya's brother returned to the Congress. In 2014, the BJP won Rajgarh seat.
In fact, the Congress could win only two seats out of Madhya Pradesh's 29 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress leader tells OneIndia that Digvijaya is keen to fight from his stronghold Rajgarh Lok Sabha seat, and has very cleverly put the ball in the court of Congress President Rahul Gandhi via a tweet.
"Digvijaya Singh knows that it is the priority of Rahul Gandhi to increase party tally in 2019 and therefore has cleverly told the Congress President that it is also important for the party to snatch Rajgarh seat from the BJP and he is capable of doing it," says the Congress leader, and adds that "there is no doubt that if Digvijaya Singh is fielded from any other seat then Kamal Nath, Scindia, and anti-Digvijaya lobby in the Congress would try their level best to see that the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister loses the election".
The leader also adds that if Singh is fielded from a tough seat like Bhopal, Indore, or Vidisha and if the Congress loses the election then Rahul will also become a party in finishing Digvijaya politically.