In one of the most telling blows to the Congress in the recent past, senior party leader and influential dynast, Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party after an hour long meeting with Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Along with him, 22 other Congress lawmakers have also resigned, bringing down the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh.
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) March 10, 2020
While tensions were simmering within the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Congress for quite some time, with Jyotiraditya Scindia getting constantly sidelined, he chose March 10- the birth anniversary of his late father, Madhavrao Scindia who was also sidelined by the Congress during his heydays.
A sidelined Jyotiraditya Scindia chose the day of the birth anniversary of his late father, who was also sidelined in his time, to destroy the Congress. Brilliant.
— Shubhangi Tiwari (@shubh19822) March 10, 2020
Interestingly, the Congress has had a history of sidelining the Scindias leading to sharp snubs and jolts from the royal family. The pattern started in the year 1967, when Jyotiraditya’s grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia (popularly known as Rajmata) severed ties from the Congress following the criticism of royal families by the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister DP Mishra.
Rajmata had managed to lure 35 legislators away from the Congress ultimately leading to the collapse of the DP Mishra-led government in the state. The chain of events thus bore unmistakable semblance with the manner in which Jyotiraditya’s resignation has led to the collapse of Kamal Nath government.
Fast forward to 1993, Madhavrao Scindia who had started off his political career in 1971 as a Jan Sangh leader before joining the Congress in 1980, was sidelined by the grand old party.
Despite his popularilty and charisma, Digvijaya Singh, a Nehru-Gandhi family sycophant was made the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister- just like his son got sidelined by another family loyalist Kamal Nath 25 years later.
In a further trigger, Madhavrao Scindia was denied the election ticket for 1996 Lok Sabha polls. He therefore resigned from the Congress and floated his own political outfit- MP Vikas Congress. However, Madhavrao had returned to the party fold in 1998.
My interview shoot with Madhavrao Scindia when he left @INCIndia in 1996. 24 years later his son @JM_Scindia is doing the same.
History repeats itself and the biggest prize for a journalist is to track and tell the story. You can see young Jyotiraditya in the background. pic.twitter.com/E4vbMpCypm
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) March 10, 2020
Madhavrao Scindia being a charismatic leader and the Prince charming was seen by many as a strong contender for Prime Ministership. However, his career and his life were cut short in 2001 when he died in a plane crash near Kanpur.
Madhavrao Scindia’s death has been described by many as mysterious. In its obituary to Madhavrao Scindia, The Guardian had said, “His aristocratic lineage, personal charm, articulateness, youthful image and talent for the rough and tumble of democratic politics shaped his mass appeal. Sonia Gandhi may have had the charisma of leadership and the family name, but Scindia had the oratorical powers and was Congress’s second-biggest crowd-puller.”
The fact that Madhavrao Scindia never rose to the heights that he deserved within India’s political circles is well known. The primary reason was of course the Congress culture of a particular family prevailing over the party despite popular appeal and merit of any other leader.
Jyotiraditya Scindia was being given the same kind of cold shoulder by the grand old party. The old guard which forms a party of the Gandhi family’s coterie got the better of Scindia as long as he was a part of the Congress.
Jyotiraditya Scindia is at the peak of his career. He is not an unsuccessful, incapable dynast like Rahul Gandhi and enjoys significant popularity in the Guna region. The manner in which 22 MLAs deserted the Congress along with Scindia shows the kind of political clout that he enjoys.
However, the old guard represented by Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh wasn’t only wasting away his present days but also trying to overpower his future by nurturing and projecting their own sons- Nakul Nath and Jaivardhan Singh as the future of Madhya Pradesh politics. Scindia though has made it clear that he would have none of it.
Therefore, Jyotiraditya Scindia chose his late father’s birth anniversary to inflict a severe jolt upon the grand old party, virtually avenging the betrayal of Madhavrao Scindia by the Congress.