Jyotiraditya Scindia joins BJP, lauds PM Modi's leadership

Terms Congress being in “denial” about reality

Updated - March 11, 2020 07:51 pm IST

Published - March 11, 2020 03:54 pm IST - New Delhi

Jyotiraditya Scindia with BJP president J.P. Nadda.

Jyotiraditya Scindia with BJP president J.P. Nadda.

Former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday formally joined the BJP a fter resigning from the primary membership of the Congress on Tuesday and lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. He termed the Congress being in “denial” about reality.

At a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Mr. Scindia joined the party in the presence of its president J.P. Nadda, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, State unit chief Vishnu Datt Sharma, general secretaries Anil Jain and Arun Singh as well as spokespersons Jay Panda and Zafar Islam. Mr. Islam in fact is a personal friend of Mr. Scindia from the latter’s days as an investment banker and was involved in the latter crossing over to the BJP.

Read: Political vacuum in Congress after Scindia’s exit

While welcoming Mr. Scindia into the BJP, Mr. Nadda recalled the party’s founder and the former’s grandmother, the late Vijaya Raje Scindia, “He [Scindia] is joining his family and we welcome him.” he said.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was absent at the induction but held a presser in Bhopal flanked by Mr. Scindia’s paternal aunt and BJP leader Yashodhara Raje. Mr. Chouhan said he welcomed Mr. Scindia into the party.

A senior source in the BJP said, “He has stayed in Bhopal as the situation is delicate with regard to the Kamal Nath government”.

Mr. Scindia spoke rather emotionally about his move. He said there were two dates that had a profound impact on his life - September 30, 2001, the day his father, the late Madhav Rao Scindia, passed away in a plane crash; and March 10, 2020, also the 75th birth anniversary of his father, when he decided to leave the Congress after facing a “crossroads”.

“I have always believed that our goal should be to serve the country while politics is only a road to that goal. Both my father and I have tried to serve Madhya Pradesh and India via the Indian National Congres s but my heart is aggrieved, as it is not possible anymore to serve people through that party,” he said. “The Congress party is living in denial and is not the party it used to be.”

Where does Jyotiraditya Scindia's exit leave the Congress | The Hindu In Focus Podcast

Hits out at Kamal Nath govt

Mr. Scindia launched a frontal attack on the Kamal Nath-led Madhya Pradesh government , stating that it had failed to implement its promised farm loan waiver, or the bonus for certain crops promised by the Congress before the polls. “What’s more, the agitation that I was involved in, that of the farmers in Mandsaur, there has been no move to remove any of the cases filed against those involved in the agitation,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi's response

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, after maintaining a stoic silence for much of the last 48 hours, told ANI that Mr. Scindia’s plaint that he hadn’t managed to get a hearing over his grievances within the party, retorted that “he was the only chap in the Congress who could walk into my house anytime” - Mr. Gandhi’s imputation being that Mr. Scindia had been a personal friend with unfettered access.

Mr. Scindia will, in all likelihood, file his nomination for the Rajya Sabha in Bhopal on Thursday, while 21 MLAs considered loyal to him are in Bengaluru.

In Bengaluru, Jaipur

Many of the MLAs supporting Mr. Scindhia are still in Bengaluru and released video testimoials of their loyalty to him amidst reports that a senior team from the Congress, including former Union Minister Mukul Wasnik and newly appointed Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, was working hard to get back the MLAs. The BJP has flown out 104 of its MLAs to Delhi to be lodged in a five-star resort in Gurugram. The move, sources in the party said was to safeguard its own flock from any blandishments from the Congress. A set of Congress MLAs, more than 80, were flown to Jaipur for the same reason by the Congress.

Sources in the BJP told The Hindu that they do not expect the Kamal Nath government to “go quietly” or in a hurry. “This will take time which is why we are moving carefully,” said a senior source in the BJP.

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