New Delhi: Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia was a natural choice to lead the party in Madhya Pradesh but will now find it difficult in the BJP as he does not have an RSS background, his one-time party colleague Digvijaya Singh told ThePrint.
In a video interview to ThePrint, he also accused the BJP of trying to buy opposition MLAs “to topple governments”, and said the “Modi-Shah duo” were able to do this because they “amassed huge wealth in the last six years”.
Scindia had resigned from the Congress, along with 22 of his loyalist MLAs, and joined the BJP in March, bringing down the state’s Congress government in the process.
Singh, who has been accused of playing a crucial role in Scindia’s ouster, said he could not understand why Scindia left the Congress.
“In fact, I told Mr Scindia also. He is a very bright person. I don’t know how he sort of got lured by BJP,” Singh said. “And I can tell him, and I can sort of predict it is going to be a very tough time for him in the BJP because in the Congress he was one of the top leaders.”
He added, “He (Scindia) would have had a free run in Madhya Pradesh. After all, me and Kamal Nathji are both over 70. And he was a natural choice for the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh,” Singh added. “But unfortunately, it is not so in the BJP where the only ones who succeed are those from the RSS. And he doesn’t have an RSS background.”
Singh also said Scindia will face ridicule as he was a vehement critic of current Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “People will see his anti-BJP, anti-Shivraj and anti-RSS speeches, his vocal voice when he was opposing BJP. There are going to be embarrassing moments for him,” Singh said.
Congress prepared for bypolls
While dates for the bypolls in 24 seats in Madhya Pradesh are yet to be announced, Singh said the Congress was ready for the elections, adding that he was confident that people will reject those who left the party for money.
“As far as we are concerned, we are all one. We shall face the situation and the challenge and ultimately defeat all these people who have taken full advantage,” said Singh, a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister himself. “They took huge sums of money from the BJP and left the party. The mandate was violated. So, people, the voters are going to punish them very strongly.”
He also accused the BJP of toppling the Madhya Pradesh government at a time when it should have been strategising against the coronavirus.
“First of all, let me tell you about the Modi-Shah duo. They only know how to buy and sell,” he said. “They have amassed huge wealth in the last six years. And they are using their wealth to topple governments by buying MLAs. And therefore, for them, ideology is not an issue. For them, the only thing which matters is power and sheer power.”
Singh added, “But at the same time people are watching the way they handle this coronavirus; they have totally messed up the whole thing. Now we are fourth in the list of nations with the highest number of corona patients.”
“When they should have been looking after strategising against the corona and its spread, they were busy toppling the Madhya Pradesh government. Therefore, I think the country must know that the Modi-Shah duo, who are one soul and two bodies, are out to destroy parliamentary democracy in this country. They feel that anyone can be bought but at the same time, we shall take upon the challenge.”
The former CM also rubbished claims of infighting within the state unit, particularly between him and Kamal Nath. “So I’ve known Kamal Nathji for the last 40 years and we have 100 per cent understanding and (we) work together. And a lot of effort has been made by BJP, by people in the media and others to bring about a misunderstanding between me and him,” he said. “But let me tell you, we have been in politics for more than 50 years now. And no one can fool us and no one can bring any kind of misunderstanding between us.”
‘Need strong anti-defection law’
When asked why the Congress is not able to keep its flock together, whether it is in Madhya Pradesh or in Gujarat where a number of party MLAs have resigned before the Rajya Sabha elections, Singh said: “If you are offered Rs 25-35 crore, would it not be very attractive to you? Even if they remain MLAs all their lives, still they will not get this kind of money. Everyone is not, sort of, ideologically strong and so committed that they would keep the ideology before this kind of an offer. So that’s it.”
He also stressed on the need for a strong anti-defection law wherein the moment the provision is brought in, “anyone who sort of moves out to a different political party to what he has been related to he should be banned for contesting any election for next six years”.
Singh said, “This provision was there when Rajiv Gandhi brought this anti-defection law in 1985. But later on, I think, I have not done enough research on this… but there is a dire need for looking at it again if you want to save democracy.”
With many Congress leaders raising their voice on how the party has been functioning and its own internal democracy, Singh had a word of advice for them: “I don’t talk about my organisation in public. If there is anything, I talk to my leadership. But at the same time, I would also request all senior leaders to refrain from making public statements about the Congress party and its organisation.”
‘Central BJP leadership toppled our govt’
Singh said an audio clip, purportedly containing a speech by Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, is confirmation that the central leadership of the BJP toppled the Kamal Nath government.
“So, it is very clear now that Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP in Madhya Pradesh were directed by the central leadership of the BJP,” he said. “Now, what is the central leadership of BJP? Mr Modi, Amit Shah and Nadda? And obviously, these three are responsible. And I would request the media to ask BJP whether what Chouhan was saying is right or wrong. If he’s right, then these are the people responsible for destroying democracy.”
Singh also accused Chouhan and his family of indulging in illegal sand mining.
“Friends of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, friends of BJP were involved in the land grab and land mafia. It is in everyone’s knowledge that his whole family was involved in illegal sand mining,” he said. “Most of his family members are involved and this is my allegation. If I’m wrong, let him file a defamation case against me.”
Singh added, “Therefore, they were worried that if Mr Kamal Nath continued as CM, they would be exposed and he had taken steps. So, that is why the use of money power to topple the elected Congress government.”
He also said there has been a poor response to the BJP’s virtual rallies. “You see if one rally costs Rs 140 crore, we can’t afford it. But at the same time, our workers are there and the voters are against these people (BJP).”
Singh said, “So it is the voters who will be sort of taking on these people. And in today’s age of technology when everyone is on mobile, getting news by the minute everyone knows what is happening. So all these big rallies and all that is over. All it is now on the click of your fingers.”
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