Analysis | Jyotiraditya Scindia revolt a likely turning point in tussle within Congress

Jyotiraditya Scindia. File   | Photo Credit: Ramesh Sharma

The latest revolt and subsequent expulsion of Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia can be a turning point in the tussle between the party’s younger lot of leaders and veterans.

The episode is also indicative of the drift within the Congress and the leadership’s inability to take quick decisions.

Also read: Accompanied by Shah, Jyotiraditya Scindia meets Modi; quits Congress

Apart from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan is another State where the veterans managed to edge out Sachin Pilot despite him being the State Congress president who led the party to victory in December 2018.

On Monday, though Mr. Scindia remained incommunicado to Congress leaders, he is reported to have met Mr. Pilot — who is Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister — in Delhi.

Also read: Upheaval in Madhya Pradesh Congress govt. an internal matter: BJP vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Mr. Pilot was reportedly the Congress high command’s emissary but the move was aimed at placating Mr. Pilot as much as Mr. Scindia, as his differences with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are well known.

“I am hopeful that the current crisis in M.P. ends soon and that leaders are able to resolve differences. The state needs a stable government in order to fulfil the promises made to the electorate,” Mr. Pilot tweeted early on Tuesday.


With the Congress’s clout being substantially reduced and young leaders not getting too many opportunities within the party, several of them, such as Milind Deora and Jitin Prasada, are restive about their political future.

Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor’s plea to hold internal elections in Congress has been largely ignored, as also Mr. Scindia’s plea to have a full-time State Congress chief.

For 15 months now in M.P., Chief Minister Kamal Nath has also been continuing as the chief of the State unit, as the party’s high command has been unable to find someone acceptable to all factions.

After losing out to Mr. Nath for the post of Chief Minister, Mr. Scindia was the strongest claimant to the post of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief but has been ignored because of reported opposition by former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh and his supporters.

Mr. Scindia and his supporters found an opportunity to hit back once the Congress performed disastrously at the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with only the Chief Minister’s son barely managing to win the family’s traditional seat of Chhindwara.

Non-fulfilment of promises such as waiving off farm loans and a lacklustre performance became a weapon in the hands of Mr. Scindia and his supporters to hold their own government to account.

In the run-up to the Assembly election in November-December 2018, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly announced at public meetings that if loan waivers did not happen within 10 days, he would change the Chief Minister.

Six months later and post the Lok Sabha debacle, it was instead Mr. Gandhi who made way for his mother once again as the party chief.

This change of guard at the top also meant that the party’s backroom managers and veterans were once again calling the shots. Whether it was Mr. Nath in M.P. or Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, all are close to strategist Ahmed Patel, who was the real power behind Ms. Gandhi’s earlier stint as Congress chief and 10 years of United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

While it is true that the party’s old guard is politically shrewder than those who are handpicked by Mr. Gandhi or those who are close to him, the divide between the old and the young is taking the party towards a fight to finish.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 7:26:58 PM |

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