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New Delhi, March 11, 2020
A day after resigning from the Congress, former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here today and accused his former party of living in denial mode.
"In my life two dates have been very significant. September 30, 2001 when I lost my father. It changed my life. The second date is March 10, 2020 which was his 75th birth anniversary when I took an informed decision," he said in a statement after formally joining the BJP in the presence of its President J P Nadda at its headquarters here.
Scindia thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders for providing him with a platform to serve the nation and its people and reminisced about his father, the late Madhavrao Scindia, who started his political career in the Jana Sangh before joining the Congress. He also recalled the contributions of his grandmother, the late Vijaya Raje Scindia, who began her political career in the Congress and was one of the founding members of the Jana Sangh, the precursor to the BJP, of which she was one of the leading lights.
According to him, the Congress today was not the same as it was in its original avatar. He also accused it of denying the ground reality.
"I had a dream when Congress formed the government in Madhya Pradesh in 2018. Eighteen months later, none of the promises are met including the ones made to farmers," he said, referring in particular to the agricultural loan waiver scheme.
He accused his former party of failing to deliver on its promises and of indulging in corrption. He accused Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath of presiding over a "transfer industry" in the state. He also said the Congress government had failed to create jobs for the youth.
Welcoming Scindia into the BJP, Nadda said it was a very democratic party where each individual had a say. He said he was confident that Scindia, too, would get an opportunity to participate in all the programmes of the party and ensure that it became an instrument for changing the destiny of the nation.
According to various sources, Scindia, 49, is likely to be given a ticket in the Rajya Sabha elections and inducted to the Union Cabinet. If the BJP is able to form a new government in Madhya Pradesh after toppling the Kamal Nath government, MLAs owing allegiance to Scindia are likely to be given ministerial berths, they said.
Scindia, considered a loyalist of the Gandhi family for long years, formally resigned from the Congress yesterday, saying that he was unable to serve the people of Madhya Pradesh and the country any more from within it.
Scindia, 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 on Tuesday morning.
"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, which lasted for more than an hour.
Scindia's aunts, Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje, are prominent leaders in the BJP.