Digvijaya is Cong candidate from Bhopal: Kamal Nath

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh

Profile of the Bhopal seat has gone several notches up with senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh entering the arena.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Saturday announced the candidacy of the former chief minister, whose Rajya Sabha tenure will end in 2020. 

A week ago, the chief minister had expressed the desire that Singh should choose any of the difficult seats in the state where the Congress has been losing the Lok Sabha elections since 1989. Therefore, the options before Singh were Indore, Bhopal and Vidisha seats. He has opted for Bhopal seat where the Congress has won in three out of seven Assembly segments in the November elections. All three Congress MLAs, including two Muslims, are staunch Singh supporters.

Two-time Lok Sabha member, Singh is set to try his luck in a different seat from his traditional Rajgarh. He won in 1984, lost in 1989 and again won in 1991 Lok Sabha election. After being chosen the MP chief minister in December 1993, the Congress veteran quit the Lok Sabha seat to enter the Assembly via Raghogarh Vidhan Sabha seat. After the Congress’s crushing defeat in 2003, the ousted chief minister had vowed not to fight an election for the next 10 years. He has taken six more years to break the vow.

Initially, Singh was keen to contest from his traditional Rajgarh seat but accepted the chief minister’s offer to opt for “ a difficult seat”.

The Bhopal seat, where Muslims account for 25% of the total population, is a formidable challenge for Singh who is known as an ace RSS bête noire.

The BJP is likely to whip up communal passion, citing Singh’s controversial statements in the past. The BJP has in the past accused the Congress warhorse of adding honorific ‘Ji’ with Osama bin Laden, hobnobbing with ‘urban Naxal’ accused of the Bhima Koregaon case and seeking proofs of the Balakot air strikes. For his no-holds-barred criticism of the RSS and the BJP, Singh is a favourite whipping boy of the Sangh Parivar on social media and otherwise.   

Given the intense hatred his name evokes in the saffron family, it is likely that the BJP might field a candidate having an ultra-Hindutva image. Name of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur is in circulation as a probable challenger. She was the prime accused in Malegaon and Samjhouta express blast cases. The NIA courts, however, acquitted her in both the cases.

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Digvijaya is Cong candidate from Bhopal: Kamal Nath

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