Digvijay Singh is the rare general secretary in the Congress who has been an active mass politician. Controversial, outspoken, political, he is also seen as someone who frequently engages with Rahul Gandhi. He spoke to Saba Naqvi on the sidelines of the Jaipur conclave. Excerpts:
Now that Rahul has been elevated, can he take on a figure like Narendra Modi?
What is Modi outside Gujarat? What is Modi outside social media....
But Rahul hardly engages with many people and the media in particular.
That will change. You will see him interacting far more with you all.
Within the party, will old-timers retire?
If you all retire, who will run things? In Rajiv Gandhi’s time, his circle was referred to as the babalog. Rahul Gandhi’s people too are from a certain background, with good intentions but not rooted. Are we going to have another generation of babalog?
There is no such thing as babalog in the Congress party. There are political activists from the youth wing, political activists from the Seva Dal, and political activists like Digvijay Singh. The newcomers will learn along the way.
Rahul spoke of building up strong state leaders. Does that mean you will project CM candidates in the forthcoming assembly polls?
Congress has to build up regional leadership. Wherever we have not performed it is because of weak regional leadership.
But the problem is factionalism in the states where elections are due. Take MP, where you were CM for a decade. The Congress is divided between powerful leaders, including you, so how can you fight the BJP?
There is factionalism even in a family and one should not make too much of it. Let us remember that in a party there is a meeting of minds on issues like ideology.
Is Sonia Gandhi retreating from politics?
The leadership remains with her but she will give more responsibility to Rahul Gandhi.
Why was Rahul missing during the youth agitation after the Delhi rape?
When a mob is agitating, can a person with high-security risk go there? Mrs Gandhi met the students at 1.30 at night sitting on a pavement next to 10, Janpath. The HM met another group. Next day they disappeared...so what can the leadership do? There also had to be some police presence during those days as 5,000 people wanted to enter Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In his interview ‘There is no babalog in the Congress’, Digvijay Singh asks, ‘What is Modi outside Gujarat?’ What has Rahul done till date, other than being born with a silver spoon in the mouth? I hones–tly doubt that even “40% back Rahul”. Why would anyone back him? Because he has dimples? Because he is cha–rming? Because he is an eligible bachelor? I will even vote for Digvijay Singh because at least he has the guts to stick his neck out, engage with people, air his views (even if they are laughable). Why Rahul?
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Rahul is no match to Narendra Modi. NaMo is a leader of masses. He has Vision/ Foresight. He is non-corruptible.The Country needs a leader like Narendra Modi to take the country to heights.******No body should give any consideration to what Digvijay Singh talks. He himself has failed miserably in M.P and looking for a safe seat in the next General elections.
"Why are these veteran Congress leaders not even ashamed to say that not one among them even contested, but meekly acquised to another "Gandhi" to be their boss?"
We will see change in congress because you must not put Shanker Singh Vagela among chamcha's of congress..The way he orchastterated Haajrao-Khajoorao in Mid 90's in Gujarat and aimed at high post same way this man is not whom congress can keep confined to one place.
Infact Sanker Singh will be most happy with the defeat of his congress colleages like Modwadia, Siddhart and become congress leader in Guajarat.
Congress will be aware of this but at this junction they have no other option but to stuck to this guy and wait...
"What is Modi outside Gujarat? What is Modi outside social media."
I recently drove 3000kms in Gujarat with family (including 2 small kids) - roads were superb; I never once felt threatened; people were friendly; water/electricity/phone etc even in remote places. The policemen in most places are helpful and people were generally going about their lives very decently. Modi has governed Gujarat well and the evidence is there to see.
What has Rahul done till now? other than being born with a silver spoon?
Why are these veteran Congress leaders not even ashamed to say that not one among them even contested, but meekly acquised to another "Gandhi" to be their boss?
I honestly doubt the "40% back Rahul" is even true. They may back the Congress because it is a "I have no clue" option on the electoral list - but why would anyone back Rahul? because he has dimples? because he is charming? because he is a bacheolor? I will even vote for Digvijay singh because he at least has the guts to stick his neck out, engage with people, and give his views (which have great entertainment value). But Rahul?
Instead of asking "What is Modi outside Gujarat?" the Congress party should demonstrate they can run at least one state like Gujarat! And whoever can do that can take on Narendra Modi. That then will be a fight among equals.
Digvijay asks "What is Modi outside Gujarat? What is Modi outside social media."
Outlook editorial reads "40% Back Rahul, 49% Want Modi . Modi is more popular than Rahul"
A little reading - even of paid media might help Mr.Singh to relate to reality.
This country should be ruled by people whose background is an open book,but not by one like Rahul Gandhi whose background is mysterious in every aspect.No one knows as to why he ramains a bachelor at the ripe old age of 43.Is he a Catholic priest in civilian dress?Is he secretly married to some Spanish girl?Or,is he impotent to avoid marriage?Likewise he is highly secretive about his religion.Once when he was asked about his religion,he made that most devious statement by saying that his religion is the same as that colour in our national flag!Nobody knows as to why he travels abroad so often and who pays for that.He mysteriously visits India's sole Catholic majority state of Mizoram for some religious planning.His educational background is totally suspect.How can such a fellow be even considered for leading our country?It will be a tragedy if he were ever to become the prime minister of our country.
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