Digvijaya Singh back in electoral race

This time, Congress has pitted Digvijaya Singh against two-time BJP’s Rodmal Nagar, who has been winning the elections since 2014….reporgts Asian Lite News

The Rajgarh constituency in Madhya Pradesh, which is being touted as a hot seat this Lok Sabha elections with Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh contesting against two-time BJP MP Rodmal Nagar, is all set to vote on May 7, in the third phase of the ensuing general polls.

So far in the general elections, Congress won 9 elections from this seat, the Jansangh-BJP 6 times, the Janta Party twice and an independent candidate also won the seat only once.

This time, Congress has pitted Digvijaya Singh against two-time BJP’s Rodmal Nagar, who has been winning the elections since 2014.

Even before the release of Congress’ official, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh had announced that he would be the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Rajgarh, marking his return to the seat after more than three decades.

Singh is contesting the constituency, considered his pocket borough, after a gap of 33 years.

The veteran Congress leader, who represented Rajgarh in Parliament back in the 1980s and early 90s, is returning to his home turf after three decades.

This election is important not only for Singh’s reputation but also for the future of Congress in Madhya Pradesh, which heavily relies on him.

Digvijaya Singh, the son of Balbhadra Singh, the Raja of Raghogarh (under the Gwalior State), began his political career in 1969 when he was elected as president of the Raghogarh municipality.

In 1977, the post-Emergency election when the Congress was wiped out across the country, Digvijaya won from the Raghogarh Assembly constituency and won Ragogarh twice more – in 1998 and 2003.

In 1984, Digvijaya entered the Lok Sabha as an MP from Rajgarh. However, in 1989, Digvijaya lost from Rajgarh to the BJP’s Pyarelal Khandelwal. In 1989, the BJP was part of the Janata Dal coalition led by VP Singh that defeated the Congress at the Centre.

With the Janata Dal coalition government soon collapsing, Digvijaya won the seat back in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections. When he returned back to state politics for a 10-year stint as CM, his brother Laxman Singh won the seat the next five times for the Congress.

Digvijaya Singh currently serves as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha and is a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he contested from Bhopal but lost to BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur by over 3.6 lakh votes.

While Digvijaya has himself been out of electoral politics in the state since his CM spell from 1993 to 2003, he has always been a prime target for the BJP.

Union Minister Amit Shah who held a public rally in Rajgarh last month to drum up the support for the BJP’s candidate took a dig at Singh and asked the gathering to give the latter’s political career a “grand farewell”.

Shah recited the Urdu couplet “aashiq ka janaaza hai, zara dhoom se nikle” (it is a lover’s funeral procession, let it move ahead grandly) to take a swipe at Singh.

He also slammed Rahul Gandhi and Digvijaya Singh for declining the invitation to attend the consecration of Ram Lalla’s idol in Ayodhya, saying their move was guided purely by vote-bank politics.

“Do you know why shehzada Rahul Gandhi and Diggi Raja (Digvijaya Singh) did not attend the consecration of Ram Lalla’s idol at Ayodhya? Because they are afraid of their vote-bank and therefore, they should never be pardoned,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Rajgarh has been slipping away from the Congress, even as Laxman Singh’s own loyalties have swung between the party and BJP.

The 2023 Assembly elections too did not go the Congress’s way in Rajgarh. Of the eight Assembly segments falling under the Rajgarh Lok Sabha constituency – Chachoura, Raghogarh, Narsinghgarh, Biaora, Rajgarh, Khilchipur, Sarangpur (SC) and Susner – the Congress only won Raghogarh, where Digvijaya’s son and heir Jaivardhan was the candidate.

In the last two general elections, 2014 and 2019, the constituency was won by the BJP’s MP Rodmal Nagar.

Nagar first got the ticket in 2014 and then retained it in 2019 despite local BJP opposition. In 2019, Nagar won against Congress candidate Mona Sustani by 4.31 lakh votes (a vote share of 65.37 per cent).

Rajgarh will go to polls on May 7 in phase three of the seven-phased ensuing general elections. (ANI)

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