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Chunnu back with Munnu

Digvijaya

Bhopal, Jan. 7: “Chunnu Raja” is back in the fold and “Munnu Raja” is ready for battle.

Digvijaya Singh was busy today supervising a civic poll campaign for his nephew, a day after the senior Congress leader’s younger brother Laxman returned to the party after nine years in the BJP.

The reunion has lifted the mood at Raghogarh Fort, the ancestral home of the royal scions, and among residents of the otherwise sleepy town 200km from Bhopal.

Sources said Digvijaya, popularly called “Munnu Raja”, has put his personal prestige at stake in tomorrow’s Raghogarh municipal corporation election to ensure Laxman’s son Aditya comes up trumps. Laxman is fondly referred to as “Chunnu Raja”.

Family insiders explained why Aditya’s victory is important for Digvijaya. Apart from establishing the family’s supremacy at the civic level, the win could pave the way Digvijaya’s son Jaywardhan, who is eyeing a Congress ticket for the November Assembly polls from Raghogarh.

Digvijaya himself plans to contest next year’s general elections from neighbouring Sagar.

The insiders said that Laxman’s return would help the family present a united face and the check division of votes that would have occurred if the brothers remained in different political camps.

Laxman returned to the Congress after a meeting of local Congress workers yesterday. Party insiders said the AICC minder for Madhya Pradesh, B.K. Hariprasad, was not enthusiastic about having Laxman back but Digvijaya’s supporters forced his hand.

Hariprasad reportedly wanted Laxman to first disown his anti-Sonia Gandhi remarks, including one questioning the Congress chief’s foreign origin.

When Laxman left the Congress in early 2004, Digvijaya had remarked bitterly that his younger brother seemed to have taken in by the BJP-led NDA’s “feel-good” and “India Shining” campaign.

Laxman stayed mum but his wife Rubina did not. The outspoken Rubina — sister of fashion designer Rohit Bal — had retaliated by claiming that Digvijaya had all along known that Laxman was about to leave.

“He (Digvijaya) must now stop acting coy. This drama should come to an end,” Rubina, known as the Chhoti Rani, said.

She added that Laxman had all along felt “uncomfortable” in the Congress and that the “Singh family” had an RSS-Hindu Mahasabha background.