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Who will step into Digvijay Singh's shoes?

Tara Shankar Sahay in Bhopal | December 05, 2003 03:37 IST

Along with accepting responsibility for the defeat of the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Digvijay Singh also said he will not seek any post for the next 10 years.

At present, Singh heads the party unit in the state and hence his announcement gave way to talk about his possible successor.

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Congress sources named three persons who are in the reckoning: the chief minister's deputy Subash Yadav, veteran leader Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh and Harvansh Singh.

Yadav was elected from Kasrawad assembly seat, Ajay Singh from Churahat and Harvansh Singh, the least influential of the three, from Keolari.

Owing to his credentials, Yadav is the frontrunner. Like the BJP's chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti, he is an OBC and enjoys considerable support among local leaders, including Rajya Sabha member Suresh Pachauri.

Yadav was keen in consolidating the OBC voters in the state but was reportedly hindered by Digvijay Singh's 'meddlesome ways'.

"The chief minister's hawk-eyed ways cramped Yadav's style and functioning. But it is graceful of him to shoulder the entire blame for our disgraceful defeat," one senior state-level leader.

The chief minister may have blunted some of the criticism against his style of functioning with his about staying away from the political limelight.

Senior leader Arjun Singh said the state government's failures were responsible for the debacle. Had the state administration tackled the problems of power shortage and poor infrastructure with determination, the result could have been different, he said.

Arjun Singh was known as Digvijay Singh's political mentor and still carries enough clout to help his son land the state Congress chief's post.

Digvijay Singh has indicated that he would take part in the selection of his successor as state party chief, along with national general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh Ambika Soni.

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