Bhopal: More than a year after playing a key role in installation of a BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia was rewarded with a berth in the Union Cabinet, a familiar terrain for the Rajya Sabha member who had served as a junior minister in the Congress-led UPA government.
Scindia (50) resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP in March 2020 and his move triggered a chain of events which finally culminated in the collapse of the Kamal Nath government just 15 months after its formation, paving the way for the saffron party to assume power which it lost towards the end of 2018.
On joining the BJP, he was made a Rajya Sabha member, while Shivraj Singh Chouhan came back as the chief minister.
The scion of the former royal family of Gwalior had started showing signs of restlessness after the Congress high command chose veteran Kamal Nath over him to take over as the chief minister in December 2018.
Things came to a head when Scindia warned of “hitting the streets” against his own party-led government if promises made to people in the manifesto were not fulfilled. The then chief minister Kamal Nath’s retort that Scindia was free to carry out his threat to launch an agitation, finally proved his undoing.
Born on January 1, 1971, and educated in Harvard and Stanford institutions, Scindia has traversed a long way after contesting his maiden election as a Congress candidate in 2002, a bypoll in the Guna Lok Sabha constituency, which was held because of the sudden death of his father, Madhavrao Scindia, in a plane crash.
In 2007, he was inducted into the UPA government and remained a part of the Union Cabinet till 2014 by serving as a minister of state for communications, commerce and industry and power.
In 2014, he was again elected from Guna, his traditional seat for a fourth time but lost from the constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to BJP candidate KP Yadav, who was once close to him.
Scindia was the face of the Congress campaign in his capacity as the chairman of the poll campaign committee during the 2018 assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh. However, when the party came to power in the state after a drought of 15 years, the coveted post of chief minister went to Nath.
After that he also lost the Lok Sabha polls from Guna and since then, he was not feeling comfortable with the Congress leadership in the state, sources close to him said.
“While in the Congress, Scindia once paid a courtesy visit to Shivraj Singh Chouhan (then he was not CM) and that was the first indication of Scindia hobnobbing with the BJP,” his close aide Pankaj Chaturvedi said.
Then came the big act – 22 Congress MLAs loyal to Scindia, including six ministers, resigned from their assembly’s membership and toppled the Congress government.
The BJP rewarded his loyalists by inducting most of them into the cabinet of Chouhan. A majority of them later won assembly bypolls necessitated by the mass resignations of Congress MLAs.
In the run-up to the bypolls in Madhya Pradesh, when Scindia was asked about the ‘political coup’ and when he had taken the final call to topple the Congress government, he told PTI, “When Nath asked me to hit the road and that was the final call.”
Scindia was the second member from his clan to pull down a Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, decades after ‘Rajmata’ Vijaya Raje Scindia toppled the “anti-people” Congress government in the state, Chouhan earlier said.
The entire Scindia family is now part of one party (BJP), Chouhan had said. –PTI