Not in race to be Chief Minister: Digvijaya Singh

Not in race to be Chief Minister: Digvijaya Singh

Omkareshwar: Six months ahead of the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh has said he is not in the race to become chief minister.
Wrapping up his 3,100-km spiritual journey around the Narmada river, which kept him away from active politics for over six months, Singh said Congress needed to fight Madhya Pradesh elections unitedly and he would work to get all the leaders together. Singh formally completed his Narmada parikrama at the ancient Omkareshwar temple, offering prayers on the ghats of the Narmada and doing an ‘abhishek’ on Tuesday afternoon. Keenly watched by many as a political mass contact programme Singh’s Narmada parikrama ended in fanfare. He was greeted by his sisters, brother-in-law, supporters from Raghogarh and groups of people who had travelled to Omkareshwar to give their best wishes to him.
“I am not in the race to be the party’s chief ministerial candidate,” he said as ET caught up with him at a guest house on the banks of the Narmada. “I have been chief minister for two full terms and I have no ambition to become chief minister. I want to see the Congress winning in the state,” he said adding that his future plans would be what Congress president Rahul Gandhi assigned him to do.
Singh begins work at a time when Madhya Pradesh Congress is witnessing a tussle between regional satraps and Gandhi is faced with the question of whether to antagonise leaders by projecting a face to take on BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “My intention is to bring all factions together in Madhya Pradesh and fight against the BJP as one team,” he said adding that he had been working at the Centre for 14 years and would gladly take up any responsibility entrusted to him.
The former chief minister, who was perceived to have botched up Congress’ chances of forming a government in Goa when he was incharge, accused BJP and the state governor of manipulating the system and not following the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission. “No, you cannot blame the leadership for that (missed chance in Goa). I was in favour of a pre-poll alliance but that was not so. Had we formed an alliance, we would have formed the government,” he said. The outspoken Congress general secretary said he had travelled a long way in his Narmada parikrama connecting with old “friends”. He looks different –– tanned and having lost weight. How is Digvijaya Singh 2.0 different from his earlier avatar? He laughs and says, “I wish I hadn’t spoken some things that I did earlier.” But he quickly adds that there isn’t anything he regrets. “That is not me. I am not somebody who will harbour regrets,” he says adding, “I was talking too much because of which I became an eyesore for BJP and RSS.
No, I didn’t still care about that but now I would not speak so much. I would attack them when I don’t agree with the ideology. But now, Rahulji has an entire team.” Singh feels that the battle ahead is tougher and Gandhi has the mettle like his mother to rally the Opposition behind him and lead from the front. “Congress has to be more street smart and think on its feet,” he said. “We should pre judge, pre-empt and set the agenda rather than allow BJP to do so,” he said.