Bhopal: Jyotiraditya Scindia’s acrimonious exit from the Congress is significant for more reasons than one. The chain of events triggered by his resignation not only reduced the Kamal Nath government to minority, but has effectively severed all ties between the Scindia royal family and the Congress.
The bitter divorce, set in motion on Monday evening when MLAs loyal to Scindia were whisked away to Bengaluru, is eerily reminiscent of the way the Guna royal’s grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia broke away from the Congress in 1967. Like today, the exit had resulted in the collapse of the DP Mishra-led Congress government, following which Govind Narayan Singh became the CM of a coalition government.
Rajmata, as Vijayaraje was known, had lured away 35 MLAs from the Congress after tensions with Mishra came to a head. The trigger was said to be the then CM’s criticism of royal families during a party workers’ convention in Panchmarhi.
Apart from the Congress rebels, the Sanyukt Vidhayak Dal (Samvida) government which replaced the DP Mishra dispensation also comprised MLAs from the Praja Socialist Party and the Jan Sangh. The coalition government lasted 19 months and collapsed in 1969.
Continuing in her footsteps, Vijayaraje’s son and Jyotiraditya’s father Madhavrao Scindia entered politics and won his first election, the Guna seat, on a Jan Sangh ticket in 1971 at the age of just 26. He contested the seat as an Independent candidate in 1977 and won again despite a strong wave for the Janata Party.
Splitting the family ideologically, Scindia senior joined the Congress and won the Guna seat for a third time in 1980, while his mother became a founding member of the BJP and helmed its affairs in Madhya Pradesh. The wedge between mother and son widened when in 1984 the Congress fielded Madhavrao from Gwalior, the hometown of the Scindias, in a 11th hour move to defeat Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Madhavrao won the epic content. During this time, his sister Vasundhara Raje also joined the BJP.
Scindia senior’s own revolt against the Congress began in 1993 when he lost the CM’s post to senior party leader Digvijaya Singh, a fate he seems to have passed on to his son who was overlooked for the state’s top job in favour of Kamal Nath in 2018.
Madhavrao left the Congress to float his own political party, the MP Vikas Congress, and joined the United Front government in 1996. He eventually returned to the Congress and Jyotiraditya continued in his footsteps, winning the Guna bypoll following his father’s demise in a plane crash in 2001. Scindia junior won the Lok Seat thrice, but lost out to Krishna Pal Singh Yadav in 2019 general elections. The cold blow came months after he was denied the CM’s chair in MP.
With his entry into the BJP, the Scindia family now boasts of four BJP leaders – Jyotiraditya, his aunts Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje, and Vasundhara’s son Dushyant who is the lawmaker from Rajasthan’s Jhalawar.
Welcoming her nephew’s decision on Tuesday, Yashodhara Raje Scindia said, "Rajmata's blood took the decision in the national interest, the new country will be created, now every distance has ended.”