Dalit card that did not work
Posted July 4, 2015on:
The popularity of the Congress was on the decline during the latter years of Digvijaya Singh’s second term as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. A senior IAS officer, who was in the good books of Digvijaya Singh, advised him to play the Dalit card in the 2003 Assembly elections. With the blessing of the chief minister, the IAS officer, himself a Dalit, organised a two-day conference in which the Dalit problem was dissected from various angles by experts invited from different parts of the country and a ‘Bhopal Declaration’ was adopted.
To the disappointment of the IAS officer and the chief minister, the media did not go gaga over the momentous deliberations taking place in Bhopal. At the end of the conference, the IAS officer took some of his trusted friends from the journalist community to the rooftop of a private hotel where they were treated to premium whiskeys and dainty dishes. The resident editor of an English daily had one peg too many and had to be virtually carried to his car. The editor, however, decided against calling it a day and retiring to his bedroom. Instead, he instructed the driver to drive to the office so that he could finish the day’s work. His by-lined story appeared on the front page of his newspaper the next morning.
I called up the IAS officer to congratulate him on his getting such a good display. But he said in a pathetic voice: ‘Sharmaji, I have read this piece five or six times but I have not been able to decide whether he has praised my efforts or pulled my leg’.