Sharing a photograph showing a group of people hoisting a saffron flag at a mosque, which later turned out to be a fake, not only put senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh in trouble with over half-a-dozen FIRs registered against him by the BJP but he found himself alone in the party.
Singh shared the photograph following communal violence in Khargone and Barwani districts on the occasion of the Ram Navami festival on April 10. Though the post was deleted soon after it turned out to be incorrect, the state BJP unit got ample opportunity to corner him.
Digvijaya Singh, however defended himself stating that his post was not particularly for the Khargone violence but he has raised questions about the BJP’s ideology in this post. After that one after another FIRs were lodged against him in several parts of the state, accusing him of disrupting peace and harmony.
In response, Digvijaya Singh continued his attack on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s bulldozer drive, particularly in riot-hit Khargone where several houses were demolished immediately after clashes broke out. He accused Chouhan of being biased.
For the last one week, Digvijaya has been at the receiving end of a united attack from the state unit of the BJP in an attempt to present him as being against Hinduism. On the other side, the Congress too seemed trying to maintain its soft Hindutva face and let Singh face the attack from the BJP on his own.
Political observers in Madhya Pradesh were of the view that not only Digvijaya Singh but any other leader who raised questions about Shivraj Singh’s bulldozer drive may face the same situation from the party.
Bhopal based journalist Lajjashankar Hardenia said, “Congress has changed its traditional ideology of secularism with its Hindutva card. In an attempt to present itself as pro-Hindu, the Congress has even forgotten the duty of the opposition party. Digvijaya Singh is alone because he is playing the main role of the opposition.”
Hardenia added that the BJP has always stood with its ideology whether it was supported or not in the elections. “BJP emerged carrying the agenda of the Ram temple, abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu @ Kashmir, pro-Hindutva etc and the party stood by its ideology even during the tough phase of the Emergency. The Congress should learn from the Aam Aadmi Party that was supported by the people in a cosmopolitan city like Delhi and then again in Sikh dominated Punjab.”
Some other political observers said the situation of the Congress is like a man sailing on two boats. With the assembly elections just one-and-a-half-years away, the Congress leadership is working in that direction.
“Muslim votes are not more than 6-7 percent in Madhya Pradesh and therefore the state Congress leadership wants to reach as many Hindus as possible,” said another senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai.
He added that the Congress has gradually started moving away from its original ideology but it still lacks the courage of conviction. “A party that originated with secularism ideology and stood for over 100 years with the same even during tough times in the past has started shifting now.”
State Congress general secretary (media) K K Mishra, however, differed with the views of the political observers saying the entire party in the state stood behind Digvijaya Singh. He claimed that the party has recently formed a committee on the communal violence issue that will be headed by Digvijaya Singh.
“A delegation of the party has recently met DGP Sudhir Saxena and recommended an independent inquiry into communal violence and the action taken by the police. Singh is a senior leader of the party and he has total support from the party,” Mishra claimed.