A controversy erupted in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday after a video went viral in which senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh is heard saying that his party’s votes get reduced if he campaigns for it.
The video was recorded on October 13 but it emerged on a day Congress president Rahul Gandhi is in the state to campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections.
Significantly, Singh, the two-time former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, has been conspicuous by his absence in the programmes and rallies which Gandhi has been addressing in the state over the last few weeks.
“.. Mera kaam keval ek. Koi prachar nahi, koi bhashan nahi. Mere bhashan dene se to Congress ke vote kat-te hai, mai jata nahi” (I have only one job, no campaigning, no speech. When I deliver a speech, Congress votes get reduced, so I don’t go),” Singh is heard saying in the video.
In the video, in which he is seen talking casually to party workers at the residence of MLA Jitu Patwari here, Singh also advises Congress workers to campaign for candidates wholeheartedly to achieve victory.
“Dekho, khwaab dekhte rah jaaoge agar kaam nahi kiya to. Nahi banegi sarkar agar aise kaam kiya to. Jisko ticket mile, chahe dushman ko mile, jitao (You will continue dreaming if you do not work. You can’t form the government if you work like this. Even if the ticket is given to a rival in the party, you should ensure his victory),” he is seen telling the party workers.
When contacted by Singh said the video was not being shown in a proper manner.
“It is not being shown in the right manner, especially the first part. If you hear the first part, you will understand it in a proper way,” Singh said.
The ruling BJP was quick to take a dig at the opposition party over Singh’s comments, with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan saying the Congress should not treat one of its senior leaders in this manner.
“We (BJP) have not given him (Singh) this pain. It was given by the Congress itself. His posters are not being put up, he is not being given prominence,” Chouhan said.
“I never imagined the Congress will treat one of its leaders in this manner. Congressmen should, at least, respect their leader,” the chief minister added.
State Congress chief Kamal Nath parried questions on Singh’s video by saying, “I am not aware of the context in which he was stating this”.
Polls for the 230-member MP Assembly are scheduled for November 28 while counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.