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Madhya Pradesh Crisis: Why Did Jyotiraditya Scindia Quit Congress?

Jyotiraditya Scindia had dropped several hints of his disaffection in the Congress in the last six months.

Updated
Politics
2 min read

Jyotiraditya Scindia has quit the Congress and is reportedly joining the BJP along with several MLAs supporting him. The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is teetering on the brink and may lose its majority.

The main question on everyone’s mind is what prompted Scindia to leave the Congress?

What Led To Scindia’s Rebellion?

The seeds of Scindia’s rebellion were sown in December 2018, when Kamal Nath was picked as CM ahead of him after Congress won the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh. There was a similar tussle in Rajasthan as well but Sachin Pilot rebelled publicly and was appointed as Deputy CM. Scindia remained silent, kept his disaffection bottled up. Rahul Gandhi promised that he had something bigger planned for Scindia.

And he was was appointed as the party’s in-charge for Western Uttar Pradesh, with Priyanka Gandhi handling the East. But the Lok Sabha elections were a disaster for Scindia, as he lost from his fiefdom Guna and the Congress was wiped out in West UP under his watch.

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Matters became even worse for him when his main backer, Rahul Gandhi, quit as Congress president in July 2019. This Congress’ old guard became much stronger and this included Scindia’s main rivals in MP – Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh.

The two leaders buried their own differences and actively tried to sideline Scindia from the state. Scindia on his part, gave a number of rather public hints regarding his disaffection – such as his support for the Narendra Modi government’s move against Article 370 or by removing the Congress party from his Twitter bio. He was also appointed as the chief of the Congress screening committee for the Maharashtra elections, but he left the country even before the elections were over.

The last straw came last month, when Kamal Nath once again scuttled Scindia’s demands of being nominated to the Rajya Sabha or being made chief of the Madhya Pradesh Congress. This is what finally led to Scindia’s departure.

For the BJP, this was a win-win situation. It has given it a chance to bring down yet another Congress government after Karnataka and it also takes away one of the Congress’ most articulate faces.

What Happens Next?

The Madhya Pradesh government may fall unless Kamal Nath pulls a rabbit out of his hat. He has already made many of his ministers resign, so that rebels can be accommodated.

But nationally, the exit of someone as senior as Scindia will raise questions on the Congress’ leadership.

Who is leading the Congress? Where is it headed? What does it stand for? And does it have the will to take on the BJP?

These are some of the questions that the party leadership may have to take a call on very soon.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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