The BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya M. Scindia , whose switch from the Congress led to a change of government in Madhya Pradesh in March, credits the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s development-oriented plank for the recent byelection victories in the State.
Are you happy about the Madhya Pradesh byelection results or you had hoped it to be better than this?
People have spoken very clearly. People have reposed their resounding faith in the BJP government led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan . I had said way before the election that there is a lot of diatribe and a lot of low-level language being used by the Congress, and that the people would respond. And people have spoken now. It is a resounding verdict. Twenty-seven of the 28 seats that went to the polls were held by the Congress. The BJP has won 19 out of the 28. We lost one or two by a very small margin. It is a thumping vote of confidence for the BJP government.
What makes the BJP so successful? Critics say it is the money, religious politics, misuse of State machinery…
Very clearly, this a verdict in favour of the BJP government. In the past six months, Shivraj Singh ji and I, and the whole team, have worked very hard to look at the blueprints for the State’s development. Whether it is for the farmers, or students, or women ... across the board. We have developed constituency-level blueprints. Our plank is a development-oriented one, as opposed to the Kamal Nath-Digvijaya Singh duo’s legacy of a corruption-ridden, 15-month government, which had completely abdicated its responsibility to the people.
You seem happy to have left the Congress?
I left the Congress because of the very anti-people policies of the government in M.P. I am part of the BJP as an ordinary worker under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. J.P. Nadda and Mr. Amit Shah and Shivraj Singh ji in the State. We have a proactive, positive attitude towards uplifting the conditions of M.P. and providing a plank for development and progress.
What do you want to, or hope to, do next?
My calling in life always has been one of a public servant, not a politician. I think that is pretty apparent in my two decades of public life. For me, it is always about finding a place in people’s hearts by working for them selflessly.
Will you be focusing on M.P. or looking at playing a role at the Centre?
I am a public servant. My role is that and my goal is that. Whatever responsibility is entrusted with me, whatever route is ordained for me, I will try and fulfil that role.
Do you feel at home in the BJP?
Oh, completely! It is a party that is cadre-driven, meritocracy driven, it is a party that is committed to development and progress for the country as a whole. It is a party that is not alien for me — don’t forget that it is a three-generation-old relationship from my grandfather to my father to me.
Are you in touch with your former friends in the Congress — are they still your friends? What do you tell them?
I don’t think politics should blur relationships. I have seen politics from the early 1980s when I was a child. It was a completely different environment. When I was in the Congress, I had a good relationship with a lot of those in the BJP. I don’t think party lines should make or break relationships.
So you do stay in touch with friends in the Congress…
I think that is the case with all my friends in all other parties. Not only in the Congress. I have friends in the TMC [Trinamool Congress], in the JD(U) [Janata Dal(U)], in the Akali Dal… in every single party.
Your former party is struggling and appears to be in a free fall. Why do you think it is so?
I don’t want to be a commenting on, or be prescriptive about, a party of which I am not a member any longer. I am very clear about where lines need to be drawn in life. And I think values and morals are important, and I am not for political opportunism. The Congress’s problems are their problems, issues that they need to deal with, strategies that they need to devise. The fact that they lost the confidence of the people of India — it is their problem. I am going to focus on my political party, which is the BJP and work day and night for the party.