Following the much-hyped switch of Gwalior royal family scion Jyotiraditya Scindia to the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Congress in March, the ruling BJP is putting up a brave face ahead of assembly bypolls. But the party state unit as well as the central leadership is cautious over underlying discontent around Scindia fast emerging as the BJP’s face in the region.
This is the reason, following a high-level review meeting in New Delhi over 27 assembly bypolls, the party high command has entrusted the responsibility of tackling dissent, especially in the Gwalior-Chambal region, to union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Rajya Sabha member Scindia who unofficially is handling the bypolls preparations in the region, his home turf. The elections might be held around the end of October.
Among others, former Bajrang Dal national convener Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya and ex-Rajya Sabha member Prabhat Jha, both known baiters of the Scindia family, are not too impressed with Jyotiraditya’s entry into the BJP.
Jha’s resentment has been compounded as he was denied another Rajya Sabha term which he was said to be pushing persistently for with the party top brass.
Pawaiya, the former state higher education minister, is more vocal in his opposition against Scindia, albeit, he now takes indirect swipes at his old adversary and had posted a stinging tweet around the same time when Scindia was in town.
“Saanp ke do jeebh hoti hain aur aadmi k eek. Saubhagya se ham to manushya hain na. Rajneeti me waqt ke sath dost aur dushman to badal sakte hain magar jo saidhantik mudde mere liye the vo aaj bhi hain. Jai Sri Ram (sic) (Snakes have two tongues while humans have only one. Fortunately, we are humans. Friends and foes could interchange with time but for me, the issues of principles are still relevant),” Pawaiya had tweeted, sending tremors in the party organisation which was busy in a membership drive in the region around a fortnight ago.
Till now, leaders like chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state head VD Sharma, and home minister Dr Narottam Mishra who hail from the region have met Pawaiya, Jha and others, but they seem to have failed to persuade these dissenters.
Workers and followers of several senior leaders too aren’t much pleased with the entry of Scindia and his loyalists whom they fought hard in the past two decades. Seniors like Dr Narottam Mishra and Yashodhara Raje Scindia (Jyotiraditya’s aunt) too have been missing from party activities in the region of late.
This was perhaps the reason that a meeting led by BJP president JP Nadda a couple of days ago set the responsibility of placating senior leaders.
VD Sharma, an RSS man, who was recently elevated as the party state head, hails from Morena, and several party seniors aren’t too impressed with the emergence of another 'satrap in the making' in an already packed region.
The central leadership reportedly has asked party leaders from Madhya Pradesh to make electoral visits together and devise poll strategy seat by seat, keeping in mind the caste and other equations.
The party high command has also asked the IT cell to reach out to the common man ahead of the assembly bypolls and highlight failures and scams of the previous Kamal Nath government.
Out of 27 assembly poll-bound seats, 16 fall in the Gwalior-Chambal region, the den of Jyotiraditya Scindia. For obvious reasons, the Congress party is desperate to hand a defeat to Scindia on his home turf.