'Action should be initiated against anyone breaking party discipline': Digvijaya breaks silence on diatribe by MP minister

The forest minister Umang Singhar, while objecting to the ex-CM writing letters to individual ministers over transfer-posting issues, had written a letter to AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi.

Published: 06th September 2019 04:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2019 04:58 PM   |  A+A-

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress’ Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh finally broke his silence over the continued diatribe against him by the state forest minister Umang Singhar.

While maintaining that he has left the issue presently hogging media headlines since last five days to be dealt by Congress national president Sonia Gandhi and MP Congress chief Kamal Nath, the septuagenarian Congress leader made it clear, “Discipline is essential in every party. Irrespective of how big a leader is, action needs to be initiated against anyone who breaks discipline,” Singh said in Bhopal on Friday.

Just after Singh underscored the need for discipline within the party and called for action against undisciplined leaders, the forest minister Umang Singhar tweeted “yeh mera sujhav hai ki sabhi ko anushasan mein rahna chahiye (I suggest that everyone should be disciplined).”

Interestingly, Singhar is the nephew and political successor of Late Jamuna Devi, a powerful tribal leader who was the deputy CM in the Congress government headed by Digvijaya Singh between 1998 and 2003. The strong differences between then CM Digvijaya Singh and his deputy Jamuna Devi are well known.

Amid reports about AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi telling party leaders in MP to raise party issues on party forums only and exercise restraint in speaking about those issues publicly, Singh justified writing letters to ministers of Kamal Nath government over transfer and posting issues.

“It’s thousands of Congress workers who’ve formed this government in the state. All letters have been written to the Chief Minister and ministers on the pleas of party workers. As a Member of Parliament, it’s my right as well as duty to write over such issues to the CM, ministers and officers concerned."

ALSO READ | Digvijaya Singh's son Jaivardhan denies his father meddling in government affairs 

"I’ve clearly mentioned in the letters that any request which is not in conformity with rules and norms shall not be entertained, but that should also be intimated to me by the minister concerned. In the letter which has become a subject of discussion I’ve written nothing except requesting the minister concerned about what action was taken on my requests (earlier letters),” said Singh.

The forest minister Umang Singhar, while objecting to the ex-CM writing letters to individual ministers over transfer-posting issues, had written a letter to AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi recently questioning in which capacity was Singh making correspondence to the ministers.

He had also accused Singh of trying to destabilize the Kamal Nath government to establish self as a “Shadow CM.”

Singhar had further accused the ex-CM of blackmailing the government and being behind rampant illegal mining and liquor trade in the state.

When asked by journalists whether he will be meeting Singhar on Friday or between Sunday and Tuesday, as written to him by the forest minister, Singh responded in a satirical tone, “I’m not diabetic, hence I have sweet tea and not bitter tea.”

Interestingly, Singhar had earlier told journalists in a similar satirical tone that he would serve Singh bitter tea if he comes to meet him.

Reiterating that the latest controversy will be dealt by AICC president and MPCC chief, Singh suspected opposition BJP’s hand in the episode. “Right since the day, I raised the issue of a BJP IT Cell office-bearer Dhruv Saxena and Bajrang Dal leader Balram Singh’s arrest by the MP ATS in 2017, this controversy has erupted,” alleged Singh.

Importantly, just hours before Singh spoke to journalists in Bhopal on Friday, his close confidant and senior Congress leader Manak Agrawal had accused forest minister Umang Singhar of being a BJP agent and tarnishing the rich legacy of his aunt and ex-deputy CM Late Jamuna Devi.

Ready to become MP Congress Committee Coordination Committee convener again

Singh, who was appointed as convener of a Coordination Committee to bring all factions of Congress together before the 2018 assembly polls, said "the Committee was dissolved after the polls. But if the party reconstitutes any such Coordination Committee and tasks me to head it, I’m ready to be its convener."

He also didn’t find anything wrong in supporters of individual Congress leaders putting up posters in support of their leaders.

Interestingly, the supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia have put up posters in Bhopal demanding his appointment as MPCC president, even as some reports suggest that CM Kamal Nath might continue to be the state party chief till the local body elections.

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