Battle for Bhopal: Digvijaya Singh banks on saffron boost to tide over Sadhvi Pragya challenge

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Published: May 8, 2019 3:09:54 PM

Computer Baba, who was given ministerial rank by the erstwhile Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, has pledged support to Congress Bhopal candidate Digvijaya Singh against BJP's Sadhvi Pragya.

Digvijaya Singh, Computer Baba, Lok Sabha election 2019, Bhopal election newsCongress candidate for Bhopal Lok Sabha seat Digvijay Singh along with spiritual leader Namdev Das Tyagi popularly known as ‘Computer Baba’. (Photo/PTI)

Computer Baba, Digvijaya Singh roadshow: Congress party’s Bhopal candidate has placed his bets on Computer Baba and a battery of Hindu saints to help him tide over the electoral challenge in Bhopal. Computer Baba, a man who was associated with the BJP and was even accorded the status of a minister by the erstwhile Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, has now joined forces with the Congress and is openly backing Digvijaya in the fight for Bhopal.

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Singh’s campaign received a saffron boost when several top seers including Namdeo Das Tyagi alias Computer Baba pledged support to the Congress and took out a roadshow in Bhopal on Wednesday. Singh also took part in the roadshow which covered Peer Gate and Sankari lanes in old Bhopal.

Computer Baba was seen leading the roadshow and said that sadhus from across the country are with Singh and have come to Bhopal to ensure his victory. On Tuesday, sadhus even performed ‘hatha yoga’ in support of Digvijaya who had served as the CM between 1994 and 2004. Digvijaya also participated in the special hawan.

Also Read: Computer Baba lends his support to Digvijaya Singh, says ‘No Modi if no Mandir’

Computer Baba was among the five seers who were given ministerial rank by the erstwhile Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. However, six months later, he quit and was seen siding with the Congress camp. By December, when the assembly election was held in Madhya Pradesh, Computer Baba was seen campaigning openly for the Congress.

Digvijaya’s saffron push is being seen as his latest attempt to counter BJP’s firebrand Hindutva icon Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. The seat gained national attention when BJP announced that Sadhvi Pragya, an accused in Malegaon blast, will take on Digvijaya. Since then, the debate between soft Hinduism vs communal Hindutva has been making the national headlines with both the BJP and Congress leaders claiming to be the real Hindu. The Bhopal seat has now become one of the most-talked seats in the country where polling will take place in the sixth phase on May 12.

The BJP has projected Digvijaya as the person responsible for defaming Hindus by coining the “Hindu terror” term when the UPA was in power at the Centre. Sadhvi Pragya, the BJP alleges, fell prey to the Congress party’s plot to defame Hindus. AMong the key conspirators listed by the BJP for this design was Digvijaya. However, Digvijaya has toed a different line and is seen visiting temples in his constituency to appease the Hindus and try and brush off the “anti-Hindu” image that the BJP has tried to build around him. The Bhopal seat which has been the BJP’s citadel since 1989 has a total population of 19 lakh, of which 15 lakh are Hindus. The BJP has won every national election from here with a huge margin since 1989.

However, Computer Baba sees the challenge differently. He said that when everyone refused to contest against Digvijaya, so the BJP found a sacrificial lamb in Pragya. He also chanted “Ram Naam Abki Baar, Badal Ke Rakh do Chowkidar”. “The BJP has fooled not just the public but the community of seers as well. We are holding the Yagna to ensure Digvijay Singh’s win,” he said.

On the other hand, BJP’s campaign in Bhopal and Thakur’s branding Digivijaya as anti-Hindu has also gained traction. Also, PM Narendra Modi’s continuous attack on Digivijaya for defaming Hindus and defending BJP’s decision to field Thakur has given a new touch to the campaign. Whether Digvijaya’s saffron gambit helps him electorally is anybody’s guess. The change in strategy for the Congress candidate, who has left no stone unturned to target the BJP over communally divisive politics, is as stark as it is ironic. While the results of this new strategy will only be visible on May 23, the contest in Bhopal is one that poll watchers will be observing very closely.

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