The absence of Congress veteran and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh from the scene has raised eyebrows amid fervent campaigning for by-elections to three Assembly constituencies and a Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
Will Digvijaya Singh campaign for the Congress, or is his absence part of the party’s strategy? These are questions that have been addressed extensively on social media and elsewhere.
The by-polls were forced by the deaths of sitting MLAs from Jobat, Prithvipur, and Raigaon Assembly seats, as well as the Khandwa Parliamentary constituency. Both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are putting in a lot of effort to win and have a busy campaign schedule.
The saffron party’s campaigning will be led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state BJP President Vishnu Datt Sharma, who will hold more than a half-dozen meetings or electoral programmes every day. Former Chief Minister and state Congress President Kamal Nath are leading the charge for his party, while Arun Yadav, a former state Congress chief president, is leading the charge in Khandwa.
The media, on the other hand, continues to focus on Digvijaya Singh’s absence.
The silence of Digvijaya Singh, whether he is criticising the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led state administration or the BJP as a whole, has created various questions ahead of the impending polls. He went to Prithvipur recently as Congress candidate Nitendra Rathore was filing his nomination papers, but he has not returned since.
According to Chandra Prabhas Shekhar, the party’s state organisation in charge, Digvijaya Singh would visit Khandwa in the coming days and address three public rallies.
A Congress leader requesting anonymity said Digvijaya Singh has always criticised the use of religion in politics by the BJP and its Hindutva ideology, and his repeated statements slamming the BJP government are seen as hurting the Congress.
(With IANS inputs)