Congress leader and former two-term chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh was booked by the Bhopal Police on Monday for allegedly sharing a doctored video of current chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP. The move less than a week before elections are held to three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh on June 19. Digvijaya and Phool Singh Baraiya are the two candidates nominated by the Congress, while Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki have been given tickets by BJP.
The FIR was filed after BJP activists filed a complaint on Sunday, claiming Digvijaya was seeking to malign the image of Shivraj.
A BJP delegation, headed by former minister Umashankar Gupta, submitted a memorandum to the crime branch of Bhopal police, seeking a case against Digvijaya Singh for sharing the "edited" video. In their complaint to the crime branch, the BJP leaders said that Chouhan had given a statement against the liquor policy of the then Kamal Nath government on January 12 this year.
This 2.19-minute video was edited and a nine-second part of it was shared on Twitter by Digvijaya Singh to malign the image of the chief minister, the BJP leaders said in the complaint.
BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma also shared the screenshot of Digvijaya Singh's tweet and said that the post has now been deleted. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that he has directed the officials to take strict legal action against the offenders, who twisted the chief minister's statement against the liquor mafia.
The Congress had sought to defend Digvijaya on the issue. "The video was shared on social media and a large number of people shared it. The police should go to the source of the video instead of making it a political issue," a Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
The FIR against Digvijaya is expected to heighten rhetoric between the Congress and BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls. When he left the Congress for the BJP in March, and pulled down the Congress government in the state, it was speculated that Jyotiraditya Scindia was unhappy at not being considered for a Rajya Sabha seat by the grand old party. The Congress has 92 seats, while the BJP has 107 seats in the Assembly. The Congress will need the support of 106 MLAs to ensure both Digvijaya and Phool Singh Baraiya win.