| Priyanka Gandhi coming out of a polling booth in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)
Bhopal, Dec. 1: The polls are over and political fates have been sealed in thousands of electronic voting machines, but Digvijay Singh is as confident as ever that he will be back a third time.
Though the other kind of polls — the exit polls — says “advantage Uma Bharti”, Digvijay has full faith in “social engineering” and a spot of cricket.
“I have bowled a googly and let us see what will happen. In 1993, I took a wicket and in 1998 I took another wicket. I am confident my googly will get me a third wicket in 2003,” said the Congress leader, relaxing in front of the television at his 6, Shyamla Hills home after days of gruelling campaigning.
The channels he surfed were painting a gloomy picture for his party but Digvijay said: “I have proved exit polls wrong and in 1998, even exit polls went wide off the mark. You can draw your own conclusions. I will wait till December 4.”
The votes will be counted on Thursday in Madhya Pradesh, which saw a 50 per cent turnout and sporadic violence that apparently claimed three lives.
A supporter said he was sure “Diggy Raja” would go the “Jyoti Basu way”. Digvijay, he added, was a great admirer of the former Bengal chief minister who was in office the longest and considered him second only to Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sources close to Digvijay said the bathroom singer has been humming the Mohammad Rafi classic Abhi na jao chor kar, ke dil abhi bhara nahin, apparently reflecting his desire for another five-year term.
Sipping lemon tea, a confident Digvijay extended a lunch invitation and said with a smile: “Come over and I will be there as third-time chief minister.” The former mechanical engineer is counting on his “social engineering” — a combination of his government’s empowerment policy — to prove poll surveys and exit polls wrong.
His calculations are based on the following factors:
Three-tier panchayati raj that has seen the emergence of some 200,000 sarpanches, mostly loyal to him and the Congress
Dalit empowerment through distribution of state-owned grazing land to some 200,000 landless Dalits
Dalit agenda that has envisaged a third of government purchases from Dalit entrepreneurs (Madhya Pradesh has 75 reserved seats while Dalits account for 16 per cent of the state’s population)
Free power and land rights to the urban poor
BSP chief Mayavati’s call to defeat the BJP at “all costs”
Most poll surveys and exit polls, Digvijay says, have overlooked the bhagidari (sharing, empowerment) factor while gathering data, confining them to the power crisis and bad roads.