Jyotiraditya Scindia
Jyotiraditya Scindia|IANS (File photo)

Jyotiraditya Scindia quits Congress, all set to join BJP

By Sonny Abraham/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, March 10, 2020

Former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, considered a loyalist of the Gandhi family for long years, resigned from the Congress today, saying that he is unable to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh and the country any more from within it.

Scindia, 49, head of the erstwhile ruling family of Gwalior, sent in his letter of resignation to Congress President Sonia Gandhi shortly after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah at the former's 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence this morning.

All indications are that Scindia, son of late Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia, the last titular Maharaja of Gwalior, will join the BJP formally later today.

"Having been a primary member of the Congress Party for the last 18 year, it is now time for me to move on. I am tendering my resignation from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress and, as you well know, this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year," Scindia said in his letter to Gandhi. A copy of the letter was posted on his Twitter page.

"While my aim and purpose remain the same as it has always been from the very beginning, to serve the people of my state and country, I believe I am unable to do this any more within this party.

"To reflect and realise the aspirations of my people and my workers I believe it is best that I now look ahead at a fresh start. I would like to thank you and through you all my party colleagues for providing me with a platform to have served the nation," he added.

Scindia's differences with the party's leadership came to the fore after another former Union Minister Kamal Nath was chosen to be the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in December 2018 after the party won a slender majority in the elections to the state legislative assembly, ending 15 years of BJP rule.

His hopes of an important role at the Centre also did not work out after the Congress lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Since then, the differences between the party's leaders in Madhya Pradesh have only widened, with the Congress high command unable to find a solution that would satisfy the two factions.

A crisis point was reached when about 17 Congress MLAs, including six Ministers, owing allegiance to Scindia, were flown to Bengaluru in BJP-ruled Karnataka a couple of days ago.

There appeared to be some hectic last-minute efforts, both at the state level and the central level in the party, to stave off the crisis. There was talk, among other things, that he would be appointed the State Congress chief and given a first-preference Rajya Sabha ticket. But, in the end, none of these worked out.

Scindia was accommpanied by Shah to the meeting with Modi this morning, which lasted for more than an hour.

IANS adds:

According to sources, all the formalities for Scindia joining the BJP have been completed.

Sources said Scindia will formally join the BJP in the presence of party president J. P. Nadda and Shah at the party headqaurters on Tuesday evening.

After the formal joining, a meeting of the BJP election committee will be held in which Scindia will be declared as a BJP candidate from Madhya Pradesh for the Rajya Sabha polls, sources said.

Scindia may also be made a Union Minister in the Narendra Modi government while his loyalist MLAs will be made Cabinet Ministers in Madhya Pradesh, sources added.

Sources said that resignation letters of about 20 Congress MLAs are ready and will be handed over to the Speaker.

Meanwhile, an important meeting of the BJP is going on in Bhopal at the party's state headquarters where former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and state BJP chief B. D. Sharma are in attendance, to chalk out the strategy to form the next government in Madhya Pradesh. A meeting of the BJP legislators will also be held on Tuesday evening to elect a leader.