Digvijaya Singh—A leader who counters Sangh Parivar and shields Congress from BJP onslaughts

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The Congress Party that struggled for Independence and won the freedom for the country and made the Modern India a model democracy of the world, has had many leaders par excellence in the past and also at present whose contribution toward the party and the nation form a historical service to the people at large. Since the era of the first Prime Minister of India, and then Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and at present the Congress president Sonia Gandhi there has been a galaxy of leaders who devotedly served the party and the nation. Besides others, Digvijaya Singh, the general secretary of the party definitely deserves to find a place in this galaxy.

Digvijaya Singh launched his political career by winning Raghogarh assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh in 1977 elections on Congress ticket. He was re-elected from the same seat and was inducted in the Arjun Singh cabinet. He considers Arjun Singh as his mentor. He also served as the president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee between 1985 to 1988. In 1984 elections, he was elected from the Rajgarh Lok Sabha constituency. In 1993, he resigned from the Lok Sabha seat as he was chosen as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister. He served in this capacity for two terms. He created a vast grass root support for the Congress among minorities and tribals and brought education reforms in the state. In 2003 elections, he won, but the Congress was defeated and the BJP came to power. This change of guard in Madhya Pradesh, brought a shift in his career and he changed his area of action from state  to national politics. Here he made a history by winning the confidence of the party chief Sonia Gandhi and got an opportunity to serve as her loyal confidant.

Opposing the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, he championed the cause of secularism. He is the staunch opponent of the Hindutva agenda of the Modi government. He has always been in the forefront to counter the communal agenda of the NDA government and serves as a shield to blunt the onslaught of the BJP. He was in the eye of a controversy, when he said the RSS in the garb of the nationalist ideology was targeting Muslims as the Nazis did the Jews during the reign of Hitler. It was perhaps the biggest crushing attack on the guiding force of the Sangh Parivar.

From the very beginning, he is associated with the party and by the dint of sincere, devoted and dedicated work, he made a prestigious place in the party. He enjoyed the confidence of the Gandhi family only because his priority has been the party interest. As the in charge of the party affairs in many states, his service has been selfless. He guided the party leaders in the states to create grass root support for themselves and the party. Under his supervision, the Congress Party won many elections in the states.

In Parliament and outside, he has been as asset for the party. Serving many party forums and Parliamentary committees, his services have been lauded by one and all. On many party matters, and political issues, the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi seek his advice. Many senior Congress leaders are lawyers by profession and they spare time for legal cases attending Supreme Court, but Digvijaya Singh is a full time party leader. His first and last priority is Congress Party.

He has always been straightforward in his criticisms of the ruling party BJP and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and issues a balanced statement. Media gives importance to his criticism and often and anon, publishes his views on front page. His tweet on demonetization on August 31 was the first voice which asked the Prime Minister that if 99 per cent scrapped notes were deposited to the banks then where was the black money. For his sharp comments and reality-based criticism, he is more often than not surrounded by media persons. In TV debates he is the leading leader to defend the Congress policies and to point out flaws and blunders of the BJP.

When it comes to framing the policies of the party, Sonia Gandhi takes his advice seriously particularly on matters related to minorities, tribal welfare and the uplift of the poor and down-trodden. On the eve of elections either of Lok Sabha or state assemblies, Digvijay Singh is a close advisor to the party leadership, because he is considered a keen observer of the people’s trends in the state concerned. In many cases, when the party leadership is to fill up important posts, his advice is sought because he observes his colleagues from close quarters and more or less aware of their capacities to carry out their responsibilities.

His loyalty to the party and leadership can hardly be questioned. He championed the cause of the party through thick and thin. He holds Sonia Gandhi in high esteem and if there is some difference of opinion, he expresses it in very respectful manner. This is a line of distinction between him and many other senior leaders. He became close to the party leadership because he had been a very popular leader among masses and classes in his native state of Madhya Pradesh.

He was born on February 28, 1947 in the erstwhile princely state of Holkar, now part of Madhya Pradeh. His father was the Raja of Raghogarh presently known as Guna district of Madhya Pradesh. He was educated at the Daly College, Indore and Sri Govindram Sekaria Institute of Technology and Science and got B E degree in mechanical engineering. He was married to Asha Singh with whom he has four daughters and a son. She died in 2013.  He married the Rajya Sabha T V anchor Amrita Rai in 2015.

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