By: Digvijay Singh

Recently, Jyotiraditya Scindia defected to BJP, leading to the collapse of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. It’s really sad that he opted for BJP at a time when its divisive agenda is visible to all. It is being said that he had lost all hope of a suitable post and honour in Congress. But this is completely untrue. If he indeed wanted to be the MP Congress Committee chief, then he could

have taken over the reins in 2013 when it was offered to him. But he preferred to remain a minister in the Union government.

In 2018, Scindia was offered the post of deputy chief minister. But he declined and, instead, proposed the name of Tulsi Silawat. But Kamal Nath didn’t agree. The recent developments prove that the former CM was right as Silawat jumped to BJP when as health minister he was responsible for leading the preparations to meet the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. Scindia wanted that person to be the deputy CM who proved to be not only disloyal to the party’s ideology but also an irresponsible minister.

Congress politics in current times isn’t just about power. It’s also about confronting the Sangh ideology. The two ideologies visualise India differently. The future of India depends on the victory of one of these ideologies. That is why the loss of the Congress government in MP pained not just the party workers but all those who are struggling against the hegemony of the RSS philosophy. Scindia’s decision points to the fact that he wanted to employ the struggle and the ideological commitment of Congress supporters for his own personal gains. As long as the Congress could guarantee power, he stayed with it and when the prospect became bleak he crossed over to BJP.

Efforts are being made to give a semblance of respectability to Scindia’s ideological betrayal. It is being said that ‘Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh squeezed him into a corner and so he felt suffocated’. Such people have no idea of Congress’ history. They forget that in MP, Congress has always been a ‘coalition of personalities’. In 10 years of my chief ministership, the party had tall leaders like Arjun Singh, Shyama Charan Shukla, Vidhya Charan Shukla, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Madhavrao Scindia, Motilal Vora, Kamal Nath and Sriniwas Tiwari. All of them were highly respected in their own right. Everyone co-existed to claim their space within the party and worked to make it stronger. Consequently, Congress won second consecutive victory in 1998.

It isn’t wise to burn down own house claiming to save it! Scindia was among the top most Congress leaders. He was made AICC general secretary and Uttar Pradesh incharge along with Priyanka Gandhi. All political and administrative decisions pertaining to the area of his influence were taken with his full consent. The party gave him a lot and the party needed him today.

In 2003, when the party lost the elections under my leadership, I pledged that I won’t take any government position for the next 10 years and will work to strengthen it. Of these 10 years, the UPA was in power for nine years. If my political objective was also to seek personal power, I would not have stayed away from government for these nine years. In politics, power is not the only instrument to serve the people.

It is wrong to say that the party had decided not to nominate him for the Rajya Sabha elections. As far as my knowledge goes, no one ever opposed it. Congress had enough numbers to elect two candidates. The real issue perhaps was the post of Union minister, which could only be bestowed on him by Modi and Shah. When Scindia was out to auction the public mandate, he had an eager pair of Modi and Shah to oblige him. Auctioning away one’s own home is not an honourable act!

I was made general secretary when I decided to stay away from power. The motto was to serve and strengthen the ideology and the party that has given me so much in life. I look back with satisfaction that I was able to do so. During my tenure, we won Assam elections twice, formed government in Maharashtra twice when I was asked to coordinate the campaign for assembly elections. During my tenure in Andhra Pradesh, the organisation was fully united and we won all local body and byelections.

When I was given UP’s charge, Congress won 22 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. In 2005, in Bihar polls, the party’s seats and vote share went up in alliance with RJD. In 2007, I was given the responsibility of 42 seats in Gujarat and Congress doubled its performance on those seats. In 2008, I was made the chairman of the screening committee for Rajasthan elections and we formed the government. In 2017, I was Goa incharge. Here too, Congress seats went up from 6 to 17 but BJP usurped the mandate using money power.

The desire to serve people is not inextricably linked to ‘acche din’. In 2018, I declared that I would not be the CM candidate. Since 2017, I am not holding any party post. Also, I haven’t been given any responsibility by the party. So should I have retreated into a shell or stopped working? But I worked hard along with Congress workers to stop the divisive agenda of RSS. I set out with my wife on Narmada yatra to connect with the spiritual roots and then carried out ‘Ekta Yatra’ to bring all workers together.

We had only one objective: To defeat BJP. Not just to gain power but because we believe in secular, democratic and constitutional values. We knew that in the current era of RSS hegemony it won’t be an easy task. We also knew that if personal power is the objective, then the easiest way to attain it is via BJP. But we decided to fight BJP. Only those who are ideologically committed or whose past is not tainted or corrupt can fight BJP.

The writer is former MP CM and senior Congress leader

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