The picture says it all, doesn’t it? Even though it may be dated, it might as well have been taken today, or yesterday, or 3 days ago!
Jyotiraditya Scindia appears to be speaking to former BJP President and the current Home Minister of India, Amit Shah, or even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to finalise his “deal” to join the ruling party at the centre, while Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister (or should I say ex-CM) Kamal Nath and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh have frowns on their faces, and two other Congressmen have their heads down in shame.
Scindia is the grandson of the last ruling Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia, and the only son of Madhavrao Scindia, the “titular” Maharaja of Gwalior from 1961 to 1971.
For those readers who may not know his family history, the 49-year-old Jyotiraditya Scindia’s family has deep connections with the BJP.
His grandmother Vijaya Raje Scindia was a prominent Indian politician. During the British Raj, as wife of Jivajirao Scindia, she ranked among the highest royal figures in India. She later became a politician of considerable influence and was elected repeatedly to both houses of parliament. She was also an active member, for many decades, of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJP’s parent party) and was a co-founder of the BJP, though she had earlier become a Lok Sabha MP on Congress tickets in 1957 and 1962. She had joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh sometime between 1962 and 1967. She was elected to Lok Sabha on a Jana Sangh ticket in 1971, and on BJP tickets in 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1996.
His two “buas” (father’s sisters) are also BJP politicians.
The elder, 67-year-old Vasundhara Raje (she dropped the surname Scindia), is a 5-term Lok Sabha MP and 5-term MLA from Rajasthan. In 2003, at the age of 50, she became the first woman CM of Rajasthan and completed her 5-year term. She had another 5-year term as CM of Rajasthan from 2013 to 2018.
The younger, 65-year-old Yashodhara Raje Scindia, was the Minister of Sports and Youth Welfare, Religious Trusts and Endowment in Government of Madhya Pradesh, from 2013 to 2018. She is a one-term Lok Sabha MP and 4-term MLA.
Jyotiraditya’s father, Madhavrao Scindia was a 9-term member of the Lok Sabha. He never lost an election since 1971, when he won from Guna (MP) on a Bharatiya Jana Sangh ticket at the age of 26. In 1977, he contested from Guna as an Independent candidate and won. In 1980, he switched allegiance to the Congress and won from Guna a third time. He was Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Railways in the Rajiv Gandhi government for 37 months during 1986-1989. From June 1991 to January 1993, he was a cabinet level Minister of Civil Aviation and Minister of Tourism for 19 months, in the PV Narasimha Rao government. He resigned from both these posts following the crash of an Indian Airlines aircraft. The plane was a Russian-built TU-154 jet, which was leased by Scindia in a controversial move. He was brought back into the cabinet as Minister of Human Resources Development in February 1995 for a brief period of 11 months.
After the fall of the PV Narasimha Rao government in 1996, he was one of the rising stars of the Congress party, and was widely considered to become PM if the Congress came back to power. However, someone had different plans in mind, for which you need to read my “controversial” book DEMYTHSIFYING MYTHS.
Madhavrao Scindia died in a plane crash on the outskirts of Mainpuri district of UP, 172 km from Kanpur, on 30 September 2001. All eight people on board the private plane died in the crash. At that time, he was considered to be number two in the Congress party, after Sonia Gandhi. Reports suggested that important evidence about the reason for the plane crash may have been removed. Stormy weather conditions had been indicated. Was the pilot not informed about the weather forecasts? At the same time, a Govt of UP flight from Lucknow to Aligarh turned back rather than risk flying in the same storm. Why wasn’t this done by the plane carrying Scindia?
Anyways, let’s come back to today and now. The then 30-year-old Jyotiraditya chose Congress over BJP due to his father’s political leaning. On 24 February 2002, he won the Guna Lok Sabha seat (which fell vacant due to his father’s death) by defeating his BJP opponent by over 450,000 votes. He was re-elected in May 2004 and became Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology in 2007. He was re-elected in 2009 for a third consecutive term and became Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. Scindia was appointed Minister of State for Power in November 2012. In 2014, Scindia was re-elected from Guna for a fourth consecutive term, but lost that seat to a BJP candidate in 2019.
After he was bypassed by the “Congress High Command” (read Rahul Gandhi) for the MP CM’s post in December 2018 (Kamal Nath was made CM), Scindia has been showing his displeasure against the Congress often. Going against the party line, he tweeted his support for BJP’s Abrogation of Article 370
His wife Priyadarshini Raje Scindia appeared in the “Best dressed – 2008” hall of fame list of Verve magazine. In 2012, she was included in the “India’s 50 Most Beautiful Women” list by Femina magazine.
Scindia joins Jayanthi Natarajan, Chaudhary Birender Singh, Himanta Biswa Sharma, Krishna Tirath, G.K. Vasan, Datta Meghe, Jagmeet Singh Brar, amongst other prominent leaders who have quit the Congress since its electoral rout in May 2014.
So what’s in store for the young political leader? At just 49, he may have a very bright future as a member of the BJP, or even an NDA ally if he forms his own party. He could become a member of the union cabinet almost immediately. Who knows, he could even be a future PM.
And what’s in store for the Congress party and the Gandhis? Most people – including longtime Congress supporters – now agree that the party has no future under either Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. WATCH THIS SPACE.