It was 1998 Assembly elections in undivided Madhya Pradesh and Digvijay Singh was unsure of his future like all sitting chief ministers going in to a difficult elections in the backdrop of a difficult national scenario. I was then with the Outlook magazine and received a call from the CM’s office that he wanted to start his campaign from his home constituency of Raghogarh and if I would like to accompany him. Prashant Panjiar was the photo editor of Outlook and he came for the assignment.
Digvijay’s chopper landed first at a small hillock (tekri) near Raghogarh and we all did darshan and met the three holy men who looked after the small temple. Digvijay made some offerings and then jumped straight into campaign mode afterwards. The response in his home town was naturally tremendous but the BJP under Sunderlal Patwa and Vikram Verma was no pushover. I went with my gut, constituency and candidate analysis and predicted in my Outlook story that Digvijay was coming back. With Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani campaigning aggressively in MP and no real national leader in charge of Congress with the political demise of Narasimha Rao, it was against the political grain and most journalists in Bhopal disagreed with me but Digvijay did win and I found my groove in political and electoral analysis.
I have never gone wrong in all my conclusions about elections and political personalities since then. Except one and it has cost me so dearly that I can still feel it’s after effects in my life.