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Why Jyotiraditya Scindia Quit Congress: The Wait for 'Bigger and Better Things' Continued Indefinitely

A file photo of Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. (PTI)

A file photo of Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. (PTI)

Those close to Scindia say this is his sweet revenge. He hoped to humble the Congress and make the point that those who dismissed him as a "small player in and around Guna" would now repent the fact that he was ignored.

Pallavi Ghosh
  • CNN-News18
  • Last Updated: March 10, 2020, 11:22 PM IST
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Just two days after Kamal Nath was made chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and his peer Sachin Pilot the deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, we asked Jyotiraditya Scindia if he felt left out. All he said was that "one must aim and wait for bigger and better things". But it's a wait which continued for just too long and finally Scindia decided to move on.

There was always a trust deficit with Scindia as far as the Congress goes. When he would whisper into the ears of Rahul Gandhi in Lok Sabha, at times giving tips on what to say in Parliament or during a campaign, or shared an office with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, the whisper campaign would begin against the Maharaja of Guna — "Don’t trust Scindia. He is a threat to Rahul Gandhi."

A few supporters of Scindia argue it was this which touched a chord with the coterie of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi coterie and it was considered best to keep him under watch. And one such occasion was when he was made in charge of a politically important state like UP, but along with Priyanka Gandhi. They shared an office at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and would sit beside each other during Congress Working Committee (CWC_ sessions. Scindia was seldom left alone.

There is no denying that Scindia is a big loss for the Congress. He is savvy, articulate and a crowd-puller. A health freak like Rahul Gandhi, this was one of the many activities that bound them together. On the fast-dial list with the Gandhi siblings, it was not that they were unaware of Scindia's restlessness. He had conveyed it to both the Gandhis that he was stifled by the Digvijaya Singh-Kamal Nath grip in Madhya Pradesh politics, that being general secretary in-charge of a state where he had no standing meant little to him.

Scindia joined politics when his father died in an air-crash in 2001. Till last year, Scindia has been an MP from Guna and his hold over this area and around has been tight. Also a cricket enthusiast, and this is what his Twitter biography reads now, Scindia is a member of the MP Cricket Board.

It is this sixer by Scindia which has left his party clean bowled. But the signs were there. During a dinner meet with Nath and Singh, which was called to sort things out, Scindia had mentioned how things could not go on as they were. The dinner ended up spoiling equations even more and that is when Scindia came in touch with a few leaders in the BJP.

Scindia waited for things to improve and hoped he would be offered something. But it turned out to be a long and futile wait. Scindia’s departure seems co-terminus with the fall of Nath's government. Those close to Scindia say this is his sweet revenge. He hoped to humble the Congress and make the point that those who dismissed him as a "small player in and around Guna" would now repent the fact that he was ignored. Scindia has also confided in his close aides that the fight is no longer about a Rajya Sabha seat. It is also a lesson to the party high command not to take anyone for granted. But underlying this is the fight between the two Maharajas. Scindia would always refer to Digvijaya Singh by his first name, which irked the former. Today as Scindia moves on to the other side, the royal battle comes a full circle.

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