Digvijay Singh is considered one of the most powerful general secretaries in the Congress. He’s also the man charged with reviving the party’s fortunes in Uttar Pradesh—the state critical for the ‘evolution’ of Rahul Gandhi as the future leader. The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister is a man who speaks his mind and is unafraid to take controversial positions for he has strong backing in the party organisation. He has famously taken contrarian positions on the Batla House encounter, even visited Azamgarh from where most of the ‘terrorist’ boys hailed, and most recently critiqued home minister P. Chidambaram’s counter-Maoist strategy. Since then he has met Chidambaram, again shifting tracks and discussing the issue of Hindu militancy. That, he says, is the issue he would now like to keep the focus on. It’s significant that the veteran Congressman has been connecting the dots and keeping an eye on scattered incidents of Hindu militancy for several years now. In late 2008, he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, listing several suspicious incidents linked to Hindu militants. He had then recommended that the home ministry set up a special cell to look into the activities of all RSS-linked organisations. He spoke to Saba Naqvi about controversies, his own ideological convictions and political projections. Excerpts:
You wrote a letter to the PM on October 1, 2008, about the problem of Hindu terrorism, much before Sadhvi Pragya was arrested by the Maharashtra ATS and the issue came into the public domain. Do you think the government made a mistake in ignoring your advice?