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2-min read

Digvijaya Singh Responds to 'Bantadhaar' Jibe, Says Shivraj Chouhan Runs Away from an Open Debate

Digvijaya Singh attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won his maiden election from Raghogarh in the state in 1977, and claimed there has been a sea change in his statements as Gujarat chief minister and as the prime minister.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:March 28, 2019, 8:04 PM IST
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Digvijaya Singh Responds to 'Bantadhaar' Jibe, Says Shivraj Chouhan Runs Away from an Open Debate
File Photo of Congress Leader Digvijaya Singh. (Photo Credits - Getty) Images)
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Bhopal: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday challenged former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to an open debate on the achievements of their respective governments when in power in the state.

“He calls me ‘bantadhaar’ and when I challenge him to a debate on my 10 year-rule against his 15 years of rule, he runs away,” Singh said. After the Congress nominated Singh as its Bhopal candidate, Chouhan had described it as the “return of bantadhaar”.

Singh said he had kept away from corruption through all the years of his political life. Several BJP leaders, including Sundarlal Patwa, Vikram Verma and Uma Bharti, had accused him of corruption but were unable to prove a single charge against him, said the former chief minister.

Singh, meanwhile, reiterated his allegations against Chouhan and his family and claimed they have been involved in Vyapam scam, illegal mining, dumper scam, and several other conspiracies.

Singh attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won his maiden election from Raghogarh in the state in 1977, and claimed there has been a sea change in his statements as Gujarat chief minister and as the prime minister.

“You can see what statements he made when he was the chief minister of Gujarat and what he has been saying as the prime minister of the country,” said Singh. “He used to talk about the Gujarat Model of Development. I would like to ask what model of development is this under which only a few businessmen have benefitted?”

The two-time chief minister also tried raking up the controversy around Modi’s marital status. “I am not being personal but what was the reason that so many election forms were filed and yet he concealed his marital status,” said Singh, claiming Modi only revealed he was married in 2014.

Accusing the Modi government of spreading manufactured figures, Digvijaya Singh quoted Congress President Rahul Gandhi as saying that an average of 27,000 jobs were lost daily after demonetisation was announced in November 2016.

“They had promised two crore jobs per year, however, after demonetisation 27,000 jobs per day have been reduced. I am not saying this, records are stating this,” he said.

Singh further accused the government of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal and of persistently weakening public sector units in the last five years.

Underlining his Hindutva credentials, Digvijaya Singh said that he has been a disciple of Shankaracharya Swaroopanad Saraswati since 1983. Singh said he would not publicise his religious faith and avoid using it in elections.

Singh on Wednesday visited the Raisen dargah while coming to Bhopal, a move that was criticised by the BJP. Responding to the attack, Singh said he visits all religious shrines, including temples, mosques, gurdwaras, churches and synagogues. “I don’t need a certificate on religion from anyone,” he said.

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