A monumental gaffe
Scindia’s abrupt defection to BJP will cost him politically in the long-term
Everyone knew for at least 6 months that Jyotiraditya Scindia will leave the party with his supporters if he is not appointed as the chief of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee. Scindia's exit from the Congress, therefore, was imminent, but his joining Bhartiya Janata Party came as a shock because most of the political observers felt that he will form his own party. Scindia was actually very seriously working on the idea of reviving the political outfit launched by his father Madhav Rao 22 years ago — Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress with the symbol of 'Rising Sun'.
But at the last moment, Scindia decided to directly sit on the lap of Narendra Modi. Jay Shah, the 33-year old son of the Home Minister and the Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India played a pivotal role, apart from many others, to convince BJP's top leadership to not miss the opportunity of getting such a prized catch in their fold immediately. With initial hesitancy from Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh and certain apolitical individuals who enjoy Modi's trust, Scindia finally had a long meeting with the Prime Minister who awarded him with a business class ticket for his future journey into BJP. He was also issued a tag for a free checked-in baggage of a Rajya Sabha seat from his home state.
Scindia left Congress for his own reasons and not for something he has declared in his resignation letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi. Scindia said in the letter that the Congress was not what it used to be. Being an embossed face for 18 years, is he also not answerable for the grim state of the Congress? What stops him now from telling the world that what all he brought before the Congress party presidents from time-to-time and when and why they did not pay any heed to his whistle-blowing?
After Scindia could not win his traditional family seat of Guna in last parliamentary elections, he blamed Modi wave for it by mentioning that after all Rahul Gandhi also could not win Amethi during his private conversations with various people. Scindia's was defeated by his former aide who after facing a public humiliation by Scindia's wife, went to see Amit Shah. Astute Shah armed him with a BJP ticket against Scindia at a right time and given him an opportunity to take his revenge. Expecting the same could prove politically fatal for Scindia in times to come. He may get a second-rung ministerial berth in Modi's cabinet today, but take it from me, that a day is not too far when 'MoSha' will make him into a Varun Gandhi.
In Congress, Scindia had the scope of emerging as one of the tallest mass leaders after Rahul and Priyanka. Had he waited for 2-3 more years with required passions; he would have certainly been the most powerful face in his home state for the assembly elections in 2023.
Bookies of the chair race games in the Congress party have mastery on a typical trick of forcing the potential rivals into a corner, leaving them with no option but to rebel. Strong mental strength is required to negotiate through this dark tunnel as at times even the topmost leadership finds itself helpless. Scindia did not want to wait and decided to make his own destiny, forgetting the many hurdles he will face in BJP before he can fulfil his dreams.
BJP does not need Scindia because it has high regards for him because he is the grandson of Vijaya Raje Scindia. BJP does not need him for his positive abilities or because it has respect for his understanding of economic issues. BJP needs Scindia today only as an element which can be utilised to destabilise the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. Once it is achieved, Scindia's role will be over. He might get a Rajya Sabha seat and a ministry as the return gifts but he will never get a free hand to run his department and would never get the satisfactory pie for his followers who have sacrificed their positions.
Knowing Scindia, I can imagine his future in BJP. Scindia will find himself surrounded by cannons within no time. He must take a lesson from the story of Maneka and Varun Gandhi. At a time when BJP needed a part of Indira Gandhi dynasty for its ravenous political reasons, it lured Maneka-Varun duo to join the party. A book could be written on how BJP ensured that Varun Gandhi gets no headlines after he projected himself as a CM-aspirant in Uttar Pradesh.
Its only because of the erstwhile kingship of Scindias that they enjoy the staunch support of a section of the masses in a particular area. They had never been mass-based leaders in real terms. Therefore, BJP, and finally the RSS, will decide how powerful he is going to be. Do you think, BJP and RSS are so neophyte that they will allow Scindia to grow beyond a ceiling?
The writer is Editor and CEO of News Views India and a national office bearer of the Congress party. Views expressed are strictly personal