New Delhi: Jyotiraditya Scindia is among the two candidates named by the BJP for the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. The announcement followed moments after the 49-year-old four-time Congress Lok Sabha MP joined the BJP. Scindia left the Congress, his party of 18 years, on Tuesday.
One of the reasons for his switch was said to be the promise of a Rajya Sabha nomination by the BJP, something that had proved to be a tough ask for him in the Congress. Elections will be held for three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh on March 26. In this, with the votes of first preference, the Congress and the BJP are fixed as one seat each and the fight is on for the third seat.
According to sources, the Congress refused to give Scindia a first preference seat that would secure his nomination. Scindia, a key Madhya Pradesh leader considered instrumental in the Congress's victory in the state election in December 2018, had to step back as Kamal Nath was made Chief Minister. Over the past year, Scindia, who also lost last year's parliamentary election, felt slighted and undermined in the Congress.
Sources say a Rajya Sabha nomination for him was strongly opposed by Kamal Nath. By the time he came around, Scindia's talks with the BJP leadership, especially Amit Shah, had gone far. The BJP sensed an opportunity to pull in Scindia when he was denied a Rajya Sabha seat by the Congress six months ago, according to sources. That was the time he received the first feelers from the BJP.
There were several secret meetings over the next few months, according to sources. Scindia was 31 when he was first elected to parliament from Guna in Madhya Pradesh in 2002, as he won a by-election held following his father Madhavrao Scindia's death. He subsequently served as union minister in different Congress governments.
"Scindia could have been Congress nominee to Rajya Sabha but only Modi-Shah can give cabinet post to the over-ambitious leader," said Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, one of Scindia's rivals.
Scindia lavishes praise on PM Modi
On joining the BJP this afternoon, Jyotiraditya Scindia said the Congress, his party of 18 years, was "no longer the party it used to be". The country's future is "totally secure" in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hands, he said.
"I consider myself lucky that I have got a platform to serve the nation. I thank the Prime Minister. No other government has ever won a mandate like PM Modi did, not once but twice, in this country's history. The PM's ability to work, using that mandate in a proactive way, and the way he has brought international repute to India, and the way he has implemented schemes, I believe the country is safe in his hands," said the former Congress leader, who had very recently attacked the BJP over the violence in Delhi.
Stating that he had left the Congress with a heavy heart, Scindia ascribed his big switch to two important days in his life, both associated with his father Madhavrao Scindia, a senior Congress leader. One, the day he died in a plane crash on September 30, 2001, and the second was yesterday - his 75th birth anniversary.
"I was hurt and distressed as I was not able to serve the people in my previous organization," Scindia, 49, said, addressing his first press conference as a BJP leader. "My aim has always been to serve people and politics is only a means to fulfil that. It is no longer possible to achieve that goal with the Congress," said the one-time close Rahul Gandhi aide.
"My respected father, and in the last 18-19 years, whatever time I got, we have done all that we could for the Congress," he added. He said the Congress had come to power in Madhya Pradesh with great aspirations and hope riding on the party. "The dream we saw for Madhya Pradesh has been shattered in 18 months," said Mr Scindia.
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