Digvijaya Singh starts statewide 'Ekta Yatra' from Ram temple to unify Congress for 2018 poll battle in Madhya Pradesh

Singh offered prayers at the world-famous Ramraja Temple in Orchha town of Tikamgarh district before beginning the yatra which will travel across all 51 districts of the state till August 31.

Published: 31st May 2018 10:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st June 2018 05:46 AM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: Aiming to turn faction-ridden Congress into a unified force for 2018 assembly polls in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh started the opposition party’s statewide ‘Ekta Yatra’ from Tikamgarh district on Thursday.

Leading the trek as the chairman of the newly constituted State Congress’ 13-member Coordination Committee, Singh started the Yatra along with other members of the committee, after offering prayers at the world-famous Ramraja Temple in Orchha town of Tikamgarh district.

The temple dedicated to Lord Ram is considered to be Madhya Pradesh’s Ayodhya.

Accompanied by better half Amrita Rai and members of the Coordination Committee, Singh offered prayers at the temple before beginning the yatra which will travel across all 51 districts of the state till August 31.

The committee members, who joined Singh in the yatra, included former Rajya Sabha member Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who has long been seen as a bitter rival of Singh within the party and is now considered close to Guna MP and State Congress Election Campaign Committee head Jyotiraditya Scindia.

“It’s a yatra to rejuvenate the Congress workers all across the state and iron out differences between different leaders of the party in every district, to enable the party to throw the BJP government out of power from MP,” said Singh before beginning his trek.

On being queried by scribes about following the BJP’s path of espousing Lord Ram before an important yatra, the septuagenarian leader Singh said “I’ve been coming to the temple of Ramraja since last 40 years. Since Lord Ram is also the ishtha dev (deity) of our home town Raghogarh, Ramraja has always showered his blessings on me. Owing to this it was our decision to begin the party’s yatra from this temple only, praying that a united Congress is able to end the 15-years misrule of BJP in MP,” said Singh.

He also played down the queries pertaining to his long-standing differences with Satyavrat Chaturvedi affecting the yatra. “There are no differences between me and him (Chaturvedi). We’ve had a long association of 40 years and I call him by his home name Vinod, which speaks about the bonding between both of us,” maintained Singh.

A smiling Chaturvedi also seconded Singh’s views, exuding confidence that a united Congress will throw out the BJP from power in the next polls in MP.

The statewide trek which started will travel through three districts of water-starved Bundelkhand region of MP till June 2, including Tikamgarh, Chhattarpur and Panna, before observing a temporary halt of a few days for the success of Congress national president Rahul Gandhi’s June 6 rally in Mandsaur.

The yatra marks the return of Singh to active politics in MP, after 15 years of self-imposed exile from state’s politics in the wake of defeat against the Uma Bharti-led BJP in 2003.

Prior to this yatra, Singh along with wife Amrita had undertaken the rigorous six-months Narmada Parikrama on foot, travelling through parts of MP, Gujarat and Maharashtra located on the banks of river Narmada.

The yatra which will see participation of senior state party leaders, including MP Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath, former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and leader of opposition in state assembly Ajay Singh ‘Rahul’ from time to time will be complete by August 31.

The 13 members of the Coordination Committee, including Singh who have been tasked with the onerous job of unifying various factions of Congress in all districts of the state have taken a resolve of not contesting the year end assembly polls.

  • Congress ‘Ekta Yatra’ began from Ramraja Temple in Tikamgarh district under leadership of Digvijaya Singh on Thursday.

  • To travel through Tikamgarh, Chhattarpur and Panna districts of Bundelkhand till June 2, before resuming after June 6 rally of Rahul Gandhi.

  • Yatra will be completed by August-end.

  • All members of the Committee, including Singh who form the Yatra, will not contest 2018 assembly polls.

  • Committee members including Digvijaya Singh’s bitter rival ex-Rajya Sabha member Satyavrat Chaturvedi.

  •  Senior party leaders like Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Suresh Pachouri and Ajay Singh to participate in the Yatra from time to time.

  • Congress has been out of power in MP since Nov 2003.

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