Even as candidate lists of political parties are eagerly awaited, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s potential constituency has fuelled hot debate in Congress circles.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath and AICC general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia want their senior colleague to contest from “any of the difficult seats ” to send out positive signals to party workers.
Singh, in turn, has expressed willingness to accept the challenge. The difficult seats are the ones where the Congress has been losing parliamentary elections since 1989. They include Indore, Vidisha and Bhopal.
Scindia on Sunday endorsed the chief minister’s view that big leaders should choose difficult seats. He, however, added that it is for the party to decide who will be fielded from where. A day before, Kamal Nath had also expressed the desire that Singh should be fielded from any of the three seats where the Congress has not won in the past 30 years.
Singh, 72, had earlier indicated that he would prefer to contest from his traditional Rajgarh seat. He was elected as Lok Sabha member from this seat in 1984, 1991 but lost in 1989. In 1993, Singh quit the Lok Sabha to head the Congress government for 10 years in Madhya Pradesh. In 2014, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha.
The veteran Rajya Sabha member responded to the chief minister’s request in a positive tone. “I am ready to contest from any seat the party chooses for me,” Singh said.
His willingness to bite the bullet has enthused his supporters in Bhopal and Indore. All three Congress MLAs, including two Muslims, under Bhopal parliamentary seat, are the former chief minister’s staunch supporters. Arif Aqeel and Arif Masood, the MLAs, have pledged to ensure historical victory for their leader in case the Congress fields Singh from Bhopal.
His supporters in Indore have echoed similar sentiments. In the Indore parliamentary seat, four out of eight Assembly segments went in the Congress kitty in the election held in November last year.
Singh has a close association with Indore where he studied in elite Daly College and later government engineering college. From this seat, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan has been winning since 1989 and is again in the race.