Other States

Accompanied by Shah, Jyotiraditya Scindia meets Modi; quits Congress

Jyotiraditya Scindia. File photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

The political crisis in Madhya Pradesh came to a head on Tuesday morning with former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia quitting the Congress and all set to join the BJP.

Setting off a chain of events, the former MP from Guna drove to Gujarat Bhawan in the morning to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The two later left for the Prime Minister’s official residence, 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, in Mr. Shah’s vehicle. Mr. Scindia, 49, announced his decision to quit the Congress party right after his meeting with Mr. Modi.

Stifled in party

While Mr. Scindia’s resignation letter was dated March 9, he made it public only after he met Mr. Modi. In his letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Scindia said he was unable to serve the people within the party and was hence taking this step.

The Congress later said it had sacked Mr. Scindia.

Mr. Scindia’s loyalists in the Madhya Pradesh Congress (around 19 MLAs, including a Minister) had landed in Bengaluru on Monday, prompting an emergency meeting of the State Cabinet. Sixteen Ministers had submitted their resignation to Chief Minister Kamal Nath allowing a Cabinet revamp.

In talks for months

This, however, was not enough to pacify Mr. Scindia who has been having growing differences in the Congress over what is his due after the party gained power in the State.

Sources in the BJP said Mr. Shah and Mr. Scindia as well as a BJP spokesperson, who is a personal friend of the latter from his banking days, had been in talks for months. Later State-level leader Narendra Tomar had been roped in along with Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

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

Around the last week of February, Mr. Scindia handed over a list of 24 MLAs who were with him. After this State BJP leader Narottam Mishra got in touch with the dissenters, while Mr. Scindia met with senior BJP leaders in Delhi. An abortive attempt on March 5 to spirit away MLAs was made, but on March 8, after finalising the offer of a Rajya Sabha seat for Mr. Scindia, 19 MLAs loyal to him were moved to the BJP-ruled Karnataka.

While Mr. Scindia did not join the BJP on Tuesday, sources say he is likely to do so on Wednesday in Bhopal and file nominations for the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Mr. Scindia’s aunt and BJP leader Yashodhara Raje said on record that he would join the party soon.

The BJP held a meeting of its Central Election Committee (CEC) on Tuesday evening but a member told The Hindu that the list of its candidates for next month’s Rajya Sabha polls will only be out on Wednesday.

Speculation is rife over the future course of the Madhya Pradesh government and Mr. Scindia.

“The BJP is keen that Mr Scindia join [the party] in the presence of former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. And there are two views over the road ahead — one is to emulate what happened in Karnataka, that is, go for a floor test in an Assembly with reduced numbers and wait for bypolls to complete the circle; the other is to ask for snap polls,” said a source.

For the BJP, the defection of Mr Scindia and his supporters is a major shot in the arm in a State they lost after 15 years, which was considered one of the birth places of the Jan Sangh, the earlier avatar of the BJP. Mr Scindia’s grandmother, the late Vijayaraje Scindia was one of the stalwarts of the Jan Sangh and a founder member of the BJP, a point continually emphasised by BJP leaders through the day.


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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 7:32:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/accompanied-by-shah-scindia-meets-modi-quits-congress/article31030163.ece

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