Divijaya’s supporters, party workers to gather for closing ceremony


Narmada Parikrama 

Chronicle Reporter, Bhopal Congress MP and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh’s 3,200-km-long Narmada Parikrama is likely to end at the river’s Barman Ghat in Narsinghpur district on 9 April. Thousands of Congress leaders, workers and his supporters will gather for the closing ceremony from across the state and the country. Digvijay’s spiritual guru, Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand, will be present on the occasion. Digvijay had undertaken this arduous Yatra on the advice of his spiritual guru. As Singh completes his self-proclaimed personal and spiritual yatra, speculation is ripe about his likely role in the Congress party ahead of crucial assembly elections in the state. The Parikrama of the Narmada, Madhya Pradesh’s lifeline began also from Barman Ghat at the Jhoteshwar Ashram of the Shankaracharya on 30 September last year. They began the Parikrama with ‘Aarti’ (lightning of lamps) of Man Narmada every morning. “This is a purely non-political, religious and spiritual journey of my life. We walk around 15-18 km every day,” Digvijay Singh said. He said he would return to active politics after completion of the Parikrama. It’s now to be seen what political path he would chart after completing the yatra. Singh has made it clear that he will not quit politics and as a party soldier will try to discharge effectively any duty assigned to him. AICC general secretary and Congress’s Madya Pradesh in-charge Deepak Babaria recently told media persons that Singh is willing to arrange funds for the party for the assembly elections to be held later this year. “Digvijaya Singh will work in Madhya Pradesh to strengthen the party and help it form the government in the state,” added state Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra. However, many in the Congress question his utility and suggest Singh has undertaken Narmada yatra to keep himself politically relevant. During the Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s Satyagrah in Bhopal after five farmers were killed in a police firing in Mandsaur last year, Singh had announced at a public meeting that he would take a back seat and concentrate on strengthening the party from behind the scene. The ruling BJP though claimed it is not bothered about what role Singh would play for his party in the elections, took a dig at his Narmada yatra. State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said Singh embarked on the yatra to exert pressure on the Congress central leadership to give him any important assignment in the state in view of the assembly elections. Recognising the political overtones of Singh’s purported spiritual journey, during which he has covered at least 110 Assembly constituencies of the state, his colleagues in the Madhya Pradesh Congress are worried. This has compelled senior Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders, including Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, to join the yatra. Singh’s yatra comes ahead of Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh this year. The Congress hopes to unseat the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government which has held power in the state since 2003.