Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh was all set to run for the Congress president, but a twist of fate saw him pulling out of the race.
Singh’s chance to become Congress president was scuppered after the entry of Leader of Opposition (LOP) Mallikarjun Kharge, who entered into the fray at the last moment after assurance from several of the top leadership of the party.
Singh, who was participating in Congress’ 3,570 km long Bharat Jodo Yatra along with Rahul Gandhi in Kerala, had come to Delhi on Wednesday night. He collected his nomination form on Thursday and told the media that he would be filing his nomination on Friday. He even met Kharge at his residence on Thursday afternoon, along with another Congress candidate, Shashi Tharoor, and several others.
But it was late on Thursday night that Singh sensed the possible entrance of Kharge into the poll fray.
The source said that following the indication of Kharge putting his hat in the ring, Singh immediately demanded from the party leadership that if the LOP had decided to contest, then the party’s “one man, one post” should be applied to him as well.
The source said that then Singh spoke to Kharge on Friday morning. He then paid a visit to Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal. The source said that Venugopal assured Singh that within an hour he would get a clear picture.
The source said that after this, Singh declared that he had been fighting for Dalits his whole life. In this situation, he will not contest the election against senior Dalit leader Kharge.
Sources in the party told The New Indian that late on Thursday night, senior leaders including Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Ambika Soni and Pawan Bansal told the party leadership that there should be a candidate on whom everyone agrees. They said that no one takes Tharoor seriously.
On the other hand, the G23 group requested former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to fight, but he was not ready, the source claimed.
In such a tense situation, Sonia Gandhi went to her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s house for dinner late in the night. Then her son Rahul Gandhi joined the meeting virtually, the source said. The three leaders then discussed the name of senior Dalit leader Kharge.
The source said that the problem then was to convince Singh not to contest the election and, secondly, to convince Kharge to step down from the post of LOP in Rajya Sabha.
Now the question arises, will Singh become the LOP once Kharge leaves the post, or will it go to some other senior leader like P Chidambaram.