Campaigning for by-elections in 28 Assembly constituencies in the state is in full swing. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and PCC chief Kamal Nath are trading charges on a daily basis. But Digvijaya Singh is conspicuous by his absence.
Digvijaya Singh has, so far, not shared the dais with Nath at any public meeting. He also did not accompany any candidate for the filing of nominations. He is maintaining a stoic silence on the exchange of barbs between the two sides. This is intriguing to say the least and does not gel with Singh’s nature.
Singh’s absence from the electoral arena is said to be part of the strategy crafted by Nath. Though the Congress workers are sore with Scindia for having engineered the fall of the Congress government, they also have a long list of complaints against Digvijay Singh. The leaders of the Gwalior-Chambal region have counselled Nath to keep Digvijaya and former minister Govind Singh away from campaigning.
Nath is using the services of Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh but the dad has been assigned backstage jobs. Singh is talking with the party leaders in poll-bound constituencies regularly. He is also trying to win over the disgruntled workers, including his own supporters. He is also doing damage-control and handling other jobs assigned to him by Nath.
Digvijaya Singh had recently said, that his relations with Nath were more than forty years old. Some leaders and others did try to create a chasm between the two leaders but they could not succeed. Now, it is being said that Nath has sidelined Digvijaya as far as the by-elections go. However, those close to Nath say dismiss this talk as rubbish.
As part of its strategy, the Congress wants to fight the electoral battle keeping Nath at the centre. It wants that Nath – and not the candidates – should be the face of the party.
In the 2003 Assembly polls, the BJP had targeted Digvijaya Singh. The party continued with this strategy in the 2008 and 2013 polls, too. In the 2018 polls, the party could not target Digvijaya as Nath and Scindia were at the forefront of the campaign. Nath is keeping Digvijay busy in behind-the-curtain assignments to ensure that the BJP does not get an opportunity to target the Raja.