In a startling development that exposes deep-seated divisions within the Congress party, Damodar Singh, the Madhya Pradesh state vice-president of the party, resorted to symbolic measures by burning effigies of senior Congress leaders, Digvijaya Singh and his son Jaivardhan Singh, in Bhopal. He accused them of neglecting the representation of the Other Backward Class (OBC) in the upcoming state assembly elections, despite his persistent demands. In a decisive move, he tendered his resignation from the party and announced his intention to field candidates in 15 electoral constituencies.
Damodar Singh’s supporters rallied outside the party’s office in Madhya Pradesh’s capital, protesting against what they viewed as a betrayal by the father-son duo. Singh alleged that Digvijaya and Jaivardhan Singh were jeopardizing the Congress’s image as a party for the underprivileged and marginalized segments of society. He further accused them of attempting to tarnish the reputation of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
Singh explained his actions, stating, “When Rahul Gandhi asserts that rights should be allocated in accordance with the population, these two individuals are obstructing this principle. This is why I decided that if they are undermining the Congress, we should symbolically protest by burning their effigies.”
As the state president of the party’s OBC unit, Damodar Singh asserted that he had demanded 126 electoral seats for OBC candidates. However, Digvijaya Singh approved only 55 of these demands. This discrepancy deeply troubled Singh, who questioned how the rights of backward class citizens could be upheld under these conditions. He pointed out the striking contrast where constituencies with populations of less than five lakh were granted 35 seats, whereas the backward class, with a population of around 3.5 crore in the state, was allocated a mere 55 seats.
Notably, former Congress MLA from Mhow, Antar Singh Darbar, joined the dissent by staging his own protest. He questioned the party’s decision to field Ram Kishore Shukla, who had recently defected from the BJP, just a month before the elections. Shukla, who spent two decades in the BJP, joined the Congress only 27 days prior to receiving the party’s ticket.
The political turmoil within the Congress in Madhya Pradesh has also given the opposition an opportunity to critique the party. BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan accused both Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh of promoting the political careers of their respective sons, Nakul Nath and Jaivardhan Singh.
This internal strife within the Congress party threatens to impact its prospects in the upcoming state assembly elections, as the leadership grapples with dissension and allegations of favoritism.