Jyotiraditya Scindia
Jyotiraditya Scindia joins BJP in presence of BJP president J.P. Nadda at the party's headquarter in New Delhi Wednesday | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Text Size:

Just a month after Jyotiraditya Scindia made national headlines, the Gwalior royal family scion has not just vanished from the news cycle, but is dangerously close to becoming nothing more than a fancy acquisition in Home Minister Amit Shah’s wall.

Lesson number one if you choose to jump ship and join Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — make yourself politically or electorally useful immediately and work very very hard without self-promotion. Otherwise you will end up being just another trophy in Amit Shah’s grand conquest.

This is precisely what seems to have happened to Jyotiraditya Scindia for now. The ‘maharaja’ can no longer afford to remain seated on his high horse. In the BJP, he will have to work much harder than he ever did in the Congress, be far more grounded and prove he is an asset if he wants a durable and meaningful role. Modi and Shah are ruthless and wouldn’t settle for anything less.

In the past few weeks, Scindia has all but disappeared from the discourse — completely overshadowed in Madhya Pradesh by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is running a one-man government. And the big national role that was being ‘readied’ for him, or the berth in the Union cabinet that seemed imminent, isn’t visible yet.

Amid the Covid-19 crisis and Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s overwhelming dominance in Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia has faded out of the headlines.


Also read: Scindia’s entry hurts BJP and Modi more than any other dynast’s. Here is why


BJP’s mantra — prove merit

Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP with what can only be described as a cliche — bang. His welcome at the BJP’s Bhopal headquarters was grand and the event was marked by Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Scindia himself giving impassioned, dramatic speeches.

By highlighting similarities between Chouhan and himself, and how both are grounded leaders with no air conditioners in their cars, Scindia’s aim was clear — to project himself to be as tall a leader in Madhya Pradesh as the four-time CM.

But Scindia is no Chouhan. The CM is popular as a people’s leader with a mass base that hasn’t suffered much dent despite the loss in the December 2018 assembly election.

Scindia perhaps thought he would get his share of meat easily, much like it worked in the Congress. But the BJP is a different party. Nothing comes easy, and most certainly not for imports, more so because of the emphasis on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-connect, which these fresh imports lack.

Jyotiraditya Scindia would do well to learn from his colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma of Assam. A prominent Congress leader, Sarma joined the BJP in 2015 after a very public spat with Rahul Gandhi, and has since quickly risen to be the BJP’s most important leader in the Northeast, and a go-to troubleshooter even otherwise. Sarma has national ambitions, but he has been careful not to let them come in the way of becoming the BJP’s tallest leader in the region — working hard, solving one crisis after another, and ensuring he completely overshadows chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Scindia can also look at Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu, who has been an important figure for the BJP because it lacked any prominent face in the Northeast. Or for that matter Rita Bahuguna Joshi in Uttar Pradesh, who brought administrative experience and understanding of politics when she jumped ship from the Congress. Goa’s Vishvajit Rane, again a Congress import, is popular in the state, has support in the local unit, and brought with him both money and muscle power.

Scindia has to find that niche for himself, figure out what he brings to the BJP’s table and not just what the BJP can give him. Sure, he managed to break the Congress and bring 22 MLAs with him, which helped bring the Kamal Nath government down, despite the party’s best efforts.

But does Amit Shah’s BJP really need a Scindia to topple a government with a slim majority? If the party wants, it can engineer a coup — Karnataka being the biggest example.


Also read: Maharaja Scindia has shown Congress the way: Find other NPAs within and get cracking


The X-factor

It isn’t enough for Jyotiraditya Scindia to be just Jyotiraditya Scindia in the BJP — a brand, an exotic last name and a charismatic, Lutyens’ Delhi favourite. There is no dearth of brands in the BJP today — Narendra Modi being the most popular one the party has ever seen, and Shivraj Singh Chouhan filling in for him in Madhya Pradesh.

Jyotiraditya Scindia has a mass base, no doubt. But is it big enough? Or does it add to what Chouhan already has? No. Scindia, in fact, lost his own election in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. To be fair though, that was more because of Modi’s overwhelming popularity than the lack of Scindia’s. But that also shows his inability to manoeuvre difficult situations in electoral politics. His arch rival Kamal Nath, after all, did manage to ensure his son Nakul won the family bastion Chhindwara, despite the Modi wave.

If he wants to be a BJP leader worth something in Madhya Pradesh, Scindia will have to toil on the ground, build a solid mass base and bring that strategic x-factor to the region.

If he wants a larger role in the Centre, Jyotiraditya Scindia has to earn it — a Union cabinet berth given as a thank you for joining the party can only take him so far, especially given his lack of RSS roots. A suave, English-speaking talking head is not the BJP’s primary concern. After all, Jay Panda switched sides from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with just that merit but has hardly reached anywhere in the BJP so far.

Given he has compromised on his ‘secular’ credentials anyway by joining the BJP, and that he hardly stands for any pronounced, marketable ideology now, all that Scindia has at this point is the chance to find a strategic niche within the BJP.

Jyotiraditya Scindia can no longer afford to be just the ‘maharaja’, he has to be a warrior too. Else, the question — ‘where is Jyotiraditya Scindia’ — will continue to linger.

Views are personal.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

20 Comments Share Your Views

20 COMMENTS

  1. Yes he is nothing more than a pretty boy with a name. But, for Ntionalists, they will not forget the family taint of having betrayed Rani of Jhansi in 1857. He has to go to Madhyapradesh and work with Chahan in the villages making an image – SINCERELY – not like his erstwhile friend pretending to at with dalits – but really living working dirtying hands and body. Not symbolism before pretending to be a westerner. Lets wait and watch to see whether he has the right advisers.

  2. Shikari shikar hogaya now put his head on the wall of drawing room.like a shoe piece.It will entertain the guests of the tadipar.

  3. Jyotiraditya Scindia has a scion name , but also has another name ‘ traitor ‘ or ‘ betrayer ‘ , looking to indian history , it is not surprising that a member of scion family turns out to be a traitor , the Indian scions had betrayed the whole country which landed India under slavery to the British for 200 years , just so that they can keep on living a luxurious life , at the expense of Indian people , BJP should know better than to trust a traitor or traitors.

  4. The author without knowing that the king of gwalior is sent to nagpore for training to lead the nation in the next parliament election wrote this article.

  5. Scindia is a defector and chose to leave the Congress bastion to land himself in the corridors of opponent with hope to dictate terms to BJP for better pastures.Without realising that the other side is less greener and he has chances to wither and tilt to destruction. Let him wait and see the days ahead.

  6. What purpose does this article serve? Jyotiraditya was not supposed to be doing much in MP local politics but was supposed to be at the Centre, with his Rajya Sabha nomination. Now unless he is made a minister by Modi, he cannot do much anyway. So all the rant against him in the article is just filling the space or just finishing a compulsory weekly article to be filed as weekly KPI!

  7. It should be a lesson to all defectors. Majority or influence is the basis for any political party as they dreaming for ruling. So the personalities having such value should have to be recognized and they should also understand that the availability of positions. But above all they should have principles and abide the rules and regulations of the party. Above all if one is a member of the party they should be subject to penalty under the election rules. Here, in BJP, all the VIPs got entry into the party are being used as Curry leaves. So it is best time, at least to come back to their parent party to uphold their principles in public life!

  8. Scindia ji. Don’t fall for this. The print is anti national. You are in good place and you will do great for motherland.

  9. Sachin Pilot did far, far more for the Congress in Rajasthan when Mr Scindia’s aunt was CM. Had a cogent claim to be CM when the party came to power. By that token, Scindia had not contributed much to the party’s victory in MP. He should have accepted the offer of DyCM, worked on building a statewide presence, going beyond the Gwalior region. Given the age difference with Kamal Nath, he could have been patient. From what one has seen of CM Chouhan, he doesn’t need any help either in the state or from Delhi. He stood up to the entire phalanx of Congress leaders from MP when UPA was in power. None of them could bring a furrow to his brow. He knows there is no opening in Delhi, perhaps for a long time. So he will dig his heels in the state, not allow Scindia to put out any fresh roots. With his mastery over facts and figures, Maharaj would do well in Statistics and Programme Implementation. In any case, irrespective of portfolio, no one counts for much in Delhi in any case.

  10. Scidhiya just him self cannot grow with BJP Icon,He already lost his own elections in INC though he was Maharaja,father,s popularity he will not get so easy,As Madhavrao was sports lover especially cricket,Efficiently handled ministry portfolios like Rail & aviation was a dominant fluent speaker like Pramod Mahajan of BJP who was fond of Atalji,even pramod shadowed Uma Bharati upto some extent she was relaxed bit when he was assassinated by his own brother in Mumbai,she again got victimized by Nitin Gadkari by outstanding development &ganga issue now finally taking test Scindia needs 2 development wk,in MP party restructuring in MP as BJP is not all getting full majority always formed the Govt on hoch poch now in power due Scindia rebeals Not only in BJP Scindia,s Journey in party will b with tough competitions with Especially RSS leaders in state & centre & other BJP Sr leaders & closer 1 of Modi he will hv 2 win over Modi 2b in good books ,as presently at center Ministers handling multiple ministry including in experience like Prahald joshi being RSS qualification,Unless Scindia gets good ministry profile like Railways,Information & Broadcast,Agriculture,Finiance,or Parliamentary Affairs etc or deputy post to Assist JP Nadda then only he will grow in BJP,In BJP many Ayaram Gayaram accommodated to weaken opposition,but those leaders in just safe deposit custody they will invited only if the need b classic example Rane BSY in main stream due to BJP,s weaknesses in Karnataka Lekhi RAZIA from AAP on RAC,Only time will prove Scindia,s Actions r right or wrong in BJP? joining club of Rajnath,piyush,Shaha,Nadda,Seetharaman & others will take hailoff of a time by that time Scindia will be Aging When Scindia,s Entry in BJP they changed colors within 1 day mentioning that was his own decisions,they hv not persuaded Indications clear since they hv majority in both houses in center in various states being managed by their own leaders in CM post BJP are not short of Any numbers & MP,s their motto to reduce competitions in elections especially in opposition increase vote % irrespective of demand leaders are accepted of other parties in BJP even by keeping away fundamentals,core values of party with Adjustments,This is not BJP Of then Atal ,LK,joshi,and so on they hv changed their strategies as situations demands to remain in power for longer time to keep away other oppositions from power in center & state,local bodies,In Maharashtra also BJP gave many leaders entry in BJP to get majority,but equation doesn’t work towards forming & getting more seats in Elections,In WB accommodated corrupt leaders of other parties in BJP by closer of files for winning elections against Mamata,In Karnataka & Goa with rule & divide policy to come in power,Bihar Nitish left LJD & joining NDA just to get closer of corrupt files of Nitish,Jharkhand other smaller states let’s not speak,These r our perception & opinions not for using criticism forum

  11. There is nothing wrong in the action taken by Jyotiraditya Scindia . He is a still a young leader and has many years of remaining political life . Why he should be sitting idle in a sinking political ship of vintage of 1885. It is time for most of the young generation leader s of the Congress party to be worried of for their own political existence and survival . There is absolutely no chance for Congress party to be near to in reckoning for decades to come as the NEW VOTERS of India are a new specie of Voters .They have their own evaluation criteria to judge the what is good for them and their country. For them past is just a history. They are not a generation which can be deceived in the name of socialism, secularism or casteism , regionalism- –. the tools, techniques tactics and strategies which Congress party mastered and employed successfully for over six -seven decades as facade to the detriment of people of India only to promote the strangulation by a dynasty ,which externally showed lip-service to democratic ideals but actually promoted the interest of the FAMILY only. The whole of the party structure of Congress was/ is to achieve family goals. But that system stands repudiated by the voters of India in 2014 and 2019 elections. So it is high time for younger and talented leaders of Congress party to to search within their hearts to find answers to the question ” How can they atton for their past sins and mistakes ? The leaving the sinking ship will be first good starting point.

  12. Ruhi would like nothing more than something bad happening with BJP and get her politics which is on ventilator (pun intended) going. Sadly for her MP Governments expansion 2 out of 6 new ministers are SCINDIA SUPPORTERS. Sorry Ruhi right now only DAY dreams for you

  13. I think he is stuck with this COVID-19 matter and is unable to direct things – he should take this as a means to establish his abilities – he will do so soon, I suppose.

  14. I don’t think J. Scindia has any ground level connect, or any trait of compassionate leadership which can help him establish such a connect in future. He survives on the faithfuls of his fiefdom. Such followings cannot be guaranteed, because there is an inverse relationship between Education and Feudalism. As people become more educated, which they will over time, the graph of leaders like J. Scindia can only go southward. That of Rahul Gandhi may take only a little more time. (Unless, RG is clever enough to prolong his curve by giving PM-candidate role to experienced hands like Anand Sharma and Chidambaram etc. so the Congress can ensure its longevity in india’s politics. Then people like J. Scindia will want to come back! There is a proverb in Hindi which is not very polite to lob at the “Royalty” : Dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka na ghat ka.)

  15. Technically speaking Mr schidiya screwed up big time it’s time he should bargain a better deal with the Congress and return back
    That’s the best way forward for the super royal
    Best of luck Mr schindya India needs you as a sesular and educated minister in a secular party working for our country

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here