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Madhya Pradesh Govt Crisis: Congress expels Scindia after he quits party; 20 party MLAs also quit

In his resignation letter, Jyotiraditya Scindia told Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, “…as you well know, this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year.”

  • Path drawing itself out over last year: Scindia to Sonia.
  • Unable to serve MP, nation, while in Congress: Scindia.
  • 20 MLAs resign, Kamal Nath stares at massive crisis.

Former Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia has resigned from the Congress — and the date below the letterhead suggests this move was planned well in advance.

In a message dated March 9 and addressed to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia wrote, “…as you well know, this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year.”

“While my aim and purpose remain the same as it has always been from the very beginning, to serve the people of my state and country, I believe I am unable to do this anymore within this party.”

View image on Twitter
Letter posted by Scindia on Twitter

Jyotiraditya Scindia posted his letter without additional comment on his Twitter page today shortly after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, intensifying speculation that he will join the BJP ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh, and help the saffron party topple the state government.

As the drama unfolded on Tuesday morning, a top Congress spokesperson tweeted, “Leadership is not everyone’s cup of tea. Or coffee.” That prompted speculation that he was targeting Rahul Gandhi, who triggered a leadership crisis within the Congress last year when he resigned after his party’s humiliating Lok Sabha election defeat.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. In dramatic developments this Holi morning, Jyotiraditya Scindia met PM Modi and Amit Shah. Shortly after, he posted a letter of resignation on his Twitter account. In the letter, which is dated March 9 and is addressed to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, Mr Scindia said: “… this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year”.
  2. “While my aim and purpose remain the same as it has always been from the very beginning, to serve the people of my state and country, I believe am unable to do this anymore within this party,” he wrote.
  3. Minutes after Jyotiraditya Scindia posted the letter, the Congress hit back by expelling the 49-year-old former Guna MP from the party. In a terse statement issued by party General Secretary KC Venugopal, the Congress said Mr Scindia stood expelled “with immediate effect” for “anti-party activities”.
  4. The BJP, which has called its MLAs to Bhopal for a show of strength, will hold a meeting at a hotel in the city at 6 pm. Sources have said Jyotiraditya Scindia will join the BJP at 6 pm as well – at the party headquarters in Delhi and in the presence of PM Modi. At its Bhopal meeting the BJP is expected to stake claim to the government. The party is likely to present former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as its chief ministerial candidate.
  5. Veteran Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, who led a “rescue” operation last week after 10 MLAs were allegedly held hostage by the BJP at a resort near Delhi, hit out today at a “conspiracy” to unseat the government. Mr Singh, who had alleged MLAs had been offered Rs 35 crore, also accused BJP leader and Mr Chouhan of lying.
  6. In response Mr Chouhan said his party was not interested in toppling the government and termed the developments as the “internal matter” of the ruling party. Fellow BJP leader Narottam Mishra, whom sources had told NDTV last week was linked to an attempt to destabilize the Madhya Pradesh government, said the resignations indicated there was “something wrong in the Congress”.
  7. Mr Scindia had been unhappy with Congress leadership for quite some time. Once close to the Gandhi family, he had been passed over for chief ministership in 2018 after he showed support of only 23 MLAs, despite a sizeable contribution to the Congress’ surprise assembly elections win. In August, he was one of a few opposition leaders who openly supported the center over its contentious Article 370 move.
  8. Congress’s Sachin Pilot and Karan Singh had been deputed to lead reconciliation efforts. Sources told NDTV the party had offered to make Mr Scindia its first preference candidate for one of three vacant Rajya Sabha posts from the state.
  9. As of this morning Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s government had 120 MLAs – just four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member Assembly. If the resignation of the 20 MLAs is accepted, the majority mark will be 106; the BJP will have 107 and the Congress 97. The rest are held by the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and independents.
  10. Should the government fall, it will be the second since the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka last year and represent a major setback to a party already struggling for relevance after two successive routs in Lok Sabha polls.

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