Jyotiraditya Scindia, the blue-eyed boy of the Congress party, General Secretary and close aide of Rahul Gandhi, has joined the BJP. 22 MLAs from his camp have also resigned from the legislative assembly, creating a crisis for the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government.
19 MLAs have been parked at a Bengaluru resort. They have not yet joined the saffron brigade. The BJP is demanding a floor test to be held sooner rather than later, while the Speaker has asked the MLAs to be personally present before him to discuss their resignations.
‘Ghar Wapsi’ For Scindia?
The Karnataka experience shows that the entire process could be time consuming.
This ended months of bickering in the Madhya Pradesh Congress between the Kamal Nath-Digvijay and Scindia camps. Scindia accused both of them of ganging up and having cornered most positions in the government. He was apparently denied the MPCC President post and a Rajya Sabha berth.
His grandmother, Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia, was one of the founding members of the BJP, while his two aunts — Vasundhara and Yashodhara — are prominent women leaders in the party.
BJP termed Scindia’s joining the party as ‘ghar wapsi’.
While there was speculation that Scindia would form a regional party like his father, his joining the BJP has shocked many ardent followers.
Why Scindia Should Have Formed a New Party
There are five reasons why forming a new party would have been beneficial for Scindia:
1. ‘Objective’ of ‘Collapse’ of Kamal Nath Govt Would Be Fulfilled
Reviving Madhavrao Scindia’s regional party, the Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress, or forming a new party would also have served its purpose. Here’s why:
- The Kamal Nath government would have been destabilised
- Scindia could sail through the Rajya Sabha elections with the help of the BJP
- He could get a Cabinet position in Modi 2.O as well by supporting NDA government
2. Joining BJP Means Closing the Door On Congress
Joining the BJP literally closes the door for him to return to the Congress in the future. The regional / new party route would have offered Jyotiraditya Scindia more flexibility. Like his father, he could have gone back to Congress if things improved or when his demands were met.
It wouldn’t have been easy though — a new party needs resources (in terms of both money and people).
He would have to invest a lot of time and energy. Additionally, in MP, the majority of MLAs are still with Congress, and Scindia would have taken some time to emerge as the ‘real Congress’. He may not have succeeded even then. That risk would have been always there.
3. Scindia Could’ve Formed a ‘New Congress’ With Young Leaders
After Scindia’s exit, many young turks like Sachin Pilot, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Milind Deora, Nagma etc have come out in support, and criticised the handling of the situation by the high command.
Forming a party would have allowed Scindia to assemble all these disgruntled / young turks on one platform. Similar to the likes of Indira Gandhi after the split in 1967. He could have become the voice of the new and young Congress forcing the old guard in the party to take note and amend their functioning style.
4. Scindia Should Have Followed Successful Models of NCP, TMC, YSRCP
We have seen in the past how strong regional leaders in the party – Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal / Trinamool Congress), Sharad Pawar (Maharashtra / Nationalist Congress Party) and Jagan Mohan Reddy (Andhra / YSR Congress) — formed their own outfits and have been very successful. In fact in Bengal and Andhra respectively, TMC and YSRCP are the ‘new Congress’.
Parties like TMC have even had an alliance with the Congress at both the State and national levels.
NCP is part of the government in Maharashtra with the Congress. These leaders have achieved the dual purpose of ‘aatma-samman’ as well as showing their importance to the high command.
5. Scindia May Face Stiff Competition Within BJP
In BJP, Scindia is likely to face tough competition. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, he will struggle to emerge as the top leader of the state amidst the presence of stalwarts like Shivraj Singh Chouhan. At the national level, he will take a lot of time to emerge as a top star in BJP. Additionally, the ‘dynast’ tag will continue to haunt him in a party which prides itself in being ‘unlike’ the Congress, where a common worker can rise up the ranks.
People who have left the Congress and joined the BJP have not had significant success in the past.
To sum up, there is a strong case for Scindia to have formed a new party rather than joining the BJP. This way he could have hedged his bets and bargained for a better deal with the Congress in the future. However, it seems he decided to join the BJP due to legacy issues. Wish him all the best.
(The author is an independent political commentator and can be reached at @politicalbaaba. This is an opinion piece. The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
. Read more on Opinion by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsGovt Denies Reports on 4G Services Being Restored In Kashmir . Read more on Opinion by The Quint.