Scindia joins BJP: says cannot serve people staying with Congress, thanks Modi, Amit Shah
Jyotiraditya Scindia, who quit the Congress party in a dramatic turn of events, has finally joined the BJP in the presence of party president JP Nadda. Jyotiraditya Scindia attacked the Congress after joining BJP and said the party is longer the same. Jyotiraditya Scindia delayed the joining for a few hours on Wednesday a day after he sent shockwaves in the political circles by resigning from the Congress party of which he was a member for over 18 years. On Tuesday, Scindia met Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and tendered his resignation from Congress membership to Sonia Gandhi. With Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 other MLAs loyal to him quitting the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress-led government is on the brink of toppling as the numbers stack up in BJP’s favour. Follow live updates on Madhya Pradesh government crisis:
The Congress has 120 MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, four more than the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. If the resignations of 21 MLAs are accepted, the majority mark will fall to 104. This will make it easier for the BJP – with 107 MLAs – to stake claim to power.
10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
- “Congress is no longer what it used to be, it is living in denial,” Mr Scindia said after his induction into the BJP, wearing the party’s saffron silk scarf. He also heaped praise on PM Modi, saying no other government had ever won the kind of mandate he did, not once, but twice.
- Mr Scindia was promptly named for the Rajya Sabha, which is seen to be a precursor to a spot in PM Modi’s cabinet. “The PM’s ability to work… 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,” he said.
- He is expected to fly back to Madhya Pradesh soon to lead efforts to topple the Congress government. The Congress has 120 MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, four more than the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. If the resignations of 21 MLAs are accepted, the majority mark will fall to 104. This will make it easier for the BJP – with 107 MLAs – to stake claim to power.
- Both the BJP and the Congress moved their MLAs out of Madhya Pradesh to guard their flock ahead of the inevitable test of strength in the assembly. The BJP has put up its MLAs at the five-star ITC Grand Bharat in Gurgaon, while the Congress has taken its members to Jaipur in Rajasthan, where the party is in power.
- The Congress moved 94 MLAs to Jaipur. The party claims 19 MLAs loyal to Mr Scindia, still in Bengaluru, will not join the BJP. Chief Minister Kamal Nath said last night: “There is nothing to worry about. We will prove our majority.”
- One of the rebels said this morning: “We came for Maharaj… not to join the BJP.” The Congress’s troubleshooter in Karnataka, DK Shivakumar, told NDTV on Tuesday that he was in touch with the rebel MLAs and that most of them would return. “Nineteen MLAs are under ‘police custody’ in Karnataka,” he remarked.
- Mr Scindia’s switch to the BJP, a party he criticized just days ago over the Delhi violence, comes as a jolt to the Congress, which has been struggling with disenchantment within the ranks and a perceived leadership vacuum. The first sign of trouble for the party in Madhya Pradesh, one of the three states it won in 2018 after a series of election defeats, was the sudden flight of 17 MLAs loyal to Mr Scindia to Bengaluru in BJP-ruled Karnataka on Monday.
- The 49-year-old former union minister had been stewing for months over what he saw as a downslide in his graph within the Congress. His supporters say the Gandhis did not make any attempt to reach out to him.
- Once close to the Gandhi family, Mr Scindia lost the race for chief ministership in 2018 after he showed support of only 23 MLAs despite making a sizeable contribution to the Congress’ unexpected Assembly polls win. In August, he was one of a few opposition leaders who supported the centre’s Article 370 move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
- Mr Scindia’s scheduled his big political turnaround for March 10, the birth anniversary of his father Madhavrao Scindia, a senior Congress leader who died in 2001. His grandmother Vijayraje Scindia was among the founder members of the BJP and his aunts Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje are also in the party. Yashodhara Raje, a BJP MLA, welcomed his “ghar waapsi (homecoming)”.