Published On: Tue, Mar 10th, 2020

Scindia quits Congress, likely to join BJP

New Delhi: Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress on Tuesday following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and may join the BJP as the saffron party set in motion its plan to topple the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh to capture power there.

Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress on Tuesday following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and may join the BJP as the saffron party set in motion its plan to topple the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh to capture power there.

Scindia, a leading Congress figure for years, drove down to the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the former BJP president who continues to drive his party’s political affairs.

The two leaders then went to the prime minister’s residence where they held talks for over an hour. Soon after his meeting with Modi, the former Union minister tendered his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying it was now time for him to move on.

The Congress also announced his expulsion for “anti-party activities” as the crisis looming over the Madhya Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Kamal Nath deepened.

There was no official word on what transpired in the meeting but BJP sources asserted that the decision of the party’s top two leaders to hold long deliberations with Scindia, the scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royalty with considerable influence in the region, underlined the importance they attach to him. The two top BJP leaders gave final shape to the modalities of Scindia’s expected entry into the party.

He is likely to be sent to the Rajya Sabha, sources said, adding that he may get a berth in the Union cabinet if his revolt against the Congress leads to the fall of the Madhya Pradesh government, as the BJP expects.

The 49-year-old leader was long upset with the Congress as he believes that Nath and Digvijaya Singh, another party satrap in the state, were working in tandem to marginalise him.

At least 22 Congress MLAs, many of whom loyal to him, have resigned to reduce the ruling Congress in the state to a minority. While the Congress, which was voted to power in the state after 15 years in 2018, has 114 MLAs, the BJP has 107 legislators in the 230-member assembly.

Four Independent MLAs, two lawmakers of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one Samajwadi Party legislator are supporting the Congress-led government. As many as 17 MLAs close to Scindia went incommunicado on Monday, with most of them believed to be camping in Bengaluru.

Election for three Rajya Sabha seats from the state is slated for March 26. Both the Congress and the BJP are sure to win one seat each, and the changing dynamics in the state politics means that the saffron party may eye to win the third seat.

The Scindia family is one of the most distinguished political dynasties in the country and Jyotiraditya Scindia’s decision has snapped its decades long ties with the Congress.

His two aunts, Vasundhara Raje and Yashidhat Raje, are already in the BJP with the former serving as the Rajasthan chief minister for 10 years.

His father Madhavrao Scindia had also started his political innings as an MP of the Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of the BJP, in 1971 but joined the Congress later. His grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia had begun his political career as a Congress MP in 1957 and then joined the Swatantrata Party, now defunct, before she moved to the Jana Sangh and emerged as a leading hardline ideologue of the party.

PTI

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