Jyotiraditya Scindia quits Cong for 'fresh start', BJP says 'homecoming'

The resignation of Scindia, a long-time aide of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is set to change existing power equations within the Congress.. (PTI)

Jyotiraditya Scindia, the scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royal family, quitting the Congress and eyeing to join the BJP is like "homecoming", as his aunt puts it, following in the footsteps of his father and grandmother.

The dramatic resignation of the 49-year-old Scindia lays bare the Congress's failure to get its own house in order amidst intense power struggles between elder and younger leaders.

Scindia believes in the Congress he did not find the royal road to a position he deserves. So, "it is now time for me to move on", he wrote in his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The timing of his resignation -- the 75th birth anniversary of his late father Madhavrao Scindia who too had quit the Congress in 1996 to float his own outfit -- is "politically significant and symbolic", according to a Congress veteran.


On Tuesday morning, as much of India was celebrating Holi, Scindia met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah, following which he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence.

There was no official word on what transpired at the meetings. However, BJP sources asserted that the decision of the party's top two leaders to hold long deliberations with Scindia underlined the importance they attach to him.

In a massive setback for the Congress, Scindia quit the Congress and in a coordinated rebellion on Tuesday 22 MLAs loyal to him resigned in Madhya Pradesh, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government to the brink of collapse.


Congress worker removes name plate of Jyotiraditya Scindia from PCC office, in Bhopal. (PTI)

Denied what he considered was his due the post of Madhya Pradesh chief minister after the Congress won state elections in 2018 -- Scindia, a four-time former parliamentarian from Guna in Madhya Pradesh in his resignation letter wrote today's events had virtually been building up for a year.

The resignation of Scindia, a long-time aide of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is set to change existing power equations within the Congress.

Several youngsters in the grand old party are awaiting leadership roles but for veterans who continue to assert themselves leaving little space.

Scindia's loyalists point out how he has avenged his father's insults by jolting the grand old party and walking out of the clutches of Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath and former CM Digvijay Singh who were politically active even at the time of Madhavrao Scindia.

The entire Gwalior royalty, including his aunts Vasundhara Raje (former Rajasthan CM) and Yashodhara Raje Scindia (former minister), is currently in the BJP fold. It's like "homecoming" for him, Yashodhara Raje Scindia said on Tuesday.

As former MP of the Congress and the party's chief whip in the 16th Lok Sabha, Scindia long charted a political course independent of his clan.

Not only was his late grandmother Vijaya Raje Scindia a founder of the Jana Sangh in 1967, his own father cut political teeth with the Jana Sangh in 1971 before moving to the Congress in 1980.

Late Madhavrao Scindia briefly left the Congress in 1996 and was later pacified to rejoin ranks.

In similar twists of fate, Jyotiraditya Scindia became a Rahul Gandhi aide just like his father had become a Rajiv Gandhi confidante.

Though late Madhavrao Scindia never lost an election starting 1971, Jyotiraditya could preserve the family's winning tradition only till 2019 when he lost Guna to his a former aide.

Cornered in Madhya Pradesh political space by CM Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh, Scindia had few months ago dropped the Congress reference from his Twitter profile.

Although he insisted that nothing should be read into it, Scindia had in some sense foretold a big story.

Insiders say Scindia felt let down by Rahul Gandhi who did not insist on the CM's post for his confidante even as Kamal Nath came up trumps in the internal power struggle.

Even later, Scindia was not made MP Congress chief as Nath retained the post.

All that the former MP got was a complementary role beside AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Uttar Pradesh where he was named general secretary west UP in January 2019.

The party won just one seat -- Rae Bareli from UP in the 2019 LS polls after which Scindia withdrew from the state ceding space for Vadra.

The Gwalior royal first became Guna MP in 2002 after winning a by-election necessitated following his father's demise.

He was only 31 years old at the time.

He gradually made his way up the Congress ladder becoming Minister of State for Communications ad IT in 2007 during Congress led UPA 1.

In 2009 he became MoS Commerce and Industry and in 2012 was appointed MoS Power during UPA-2.

After the Congress lost the 2014 General Election, Sonia Gandhi named him the party's chief whip in Lok Sabha.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel