Even as the race for the Congress president’s post is hotting up, its veteran leader and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh on Friday said he is not interested in becoming the party chief.
The Congress on Thursday set the ball rolling for electing its chief by issuing a notification. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday made it clear he will fight for the party’s president post. A contest for the top party post appeared imminent after a gap of over two decades as party leader Shashi Tharoor looks set for an electoral face-off.
Names of former Union minister Manish Tewari, former Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik and Prithviraj Chavan, were also doing the rounds as possible contenders, but many of them have ruled out running for the top post.
Talking to reporters here, Singh said, “I have already said and I am reiterating that I am not interested in becoming the party’s national president.” He arrived here on his way to Jhoteshwar in Narsinghpur district to pay tributes to late Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, who passed away recently, at his samadhi.
When asked who will replace Gehlot as the chief minister of Rajasthan in case he becomes the party president, Singh refused to comment saying, “I am not a public representative from Rajasthan.” Replying to a question about Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat visiting a mosque and a madrassa in Delhi, the veteran Congress leader said it was the result of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, which has merely completed two weeks.
“I express my gratitude towards RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for getting influenced by the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Singh said, adding that this kind of feeling must percolate to the lower rungs of the Sangh.
Singh said they (RSS cadres) should stop creating differences and feeling of animosity among communities on religious lines.
Answering a query, he said that people’s response to the Bharat Jodo Yatra is far beyond the party’s expectations.
On BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad terming the exercise as ‘Gandhi Parivar Bachao Yatra’, Singh said, “His (Prasad’s) definition of ‘parivar’ (family) is limited to the Sangh Parivar, while Congress’s definition of ‘parivar’ is entire world, that is ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’, and we believe in Bharatiya sanatani parampara.”