Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has played an instrumental role in Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to end the Congress’s 22-year-old political isolation from the Uttar Pradesh. He, however, openly admits that the Congress has allotted 30 percent tickets to the outsiders to ensure victory. Talking to Dainik Jagran, Singh, who is confident of the party’s victory in the assembly elections, says that the discontent among the party workers is not a big issue.

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Q: Why will the people of Uttar Pradesh vote for the Congress reeling under severe criticism?

A: The people of the state have been witnessing the non-Congress governments over the two decades. The common man wants to get rid of the misrule of BSP and SP and their caste based politics. No party can provide the strong alternative to the Congress. You can gauge from the fact that Rahul’s rallies draw huge crowds.

Q: Despite the people being disenchanted with the current regime, the Congress has failed to reap the benefit.

A: The Congress is ready to take challenges. For the first time the party is contesting assembly polls in state with concrete strategy. Certainly, the Congress-RLD alliance is going to form the next government.

Q: But a faction of the Congress alleges that the party has fielded outsiders on over half of the constituencies.

A: Yes. The Congress is not so strong on the grass-root level and there is lack of winnable candidate for all seats. So, the party has decided to field outsiders on the weak seats.

Q: How will the base of the Congress be strengthened by fielding outsiders with their dominance over the party?

A: Given the organizational condition of the Congress, the party high command has focused on the merits of individual candidate. If the office bearers do not extend help to the candidates in the election, the action will be taken against them.

Q: Is there another Congress within the Congress?

A: No. The party is only trying to iron out differences among the grass-root level party workers, which developed owing to staying away from the power for the long.

Q: Why did the Congress keep changing its stand for defending itself after the controversy triggered by your statements against Anna, RSS and Ramdev.

A: My stand proves true on most of the important issues, from RSS’ terror link to Anna. When the involvements of Sadhwi Pragya and Fauzi Afsar in the Malegaon blast were exposed, BJP leader LK Advani-led delegation met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to change the report.

Q:
Why was the ripple created over your alleged relation with RSS?

A: Which type of relation? Nanaji Deshmukh was the Vice Chancellor of Gramin University during my tenure as Chief Minister. We had meeting regarding the matters related with the university. Later, my government changed the post of Governor with Chancellor through amending the act. I shared the dais with Sitaram Keshri in the Vishwa Hindu Conference on the request of Shankracharya. I had also criticized the policy of VHP.

Q: Your statement over Batla encounter also put the Congress in the trouble.

A: This chapter is closed now.

Q: The BJP is aggressive over giving 4.5 percent reservation to the Muslims within the OBC quota. Does the Constitution allow religion based reservation?

A:
It will not be justifiable to say religion based reservation as the Mandal Commission has already made provision for it. Nine percent reservation will be given to Muslims as per their population.

Q: How do you view former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti fighting assembly election in UP?

A: The Congress is progressing on the path of victory. But it is shame for UP BJP that Uma is contesting from Karchhari Assembly constituency.

Q: Will the Congress make post-poll alliance with SP or BSP in case of fractured verdict?

A: It will not happen as the Congress-RLD is going to form government.

JNN