The Scindias: Blood proves thicker than political water
"He must have taken the decision keeping the face of Rajmata in mind," said Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Jyotiraditya Scindia's aunt and the youngest daughter of Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia of Gwalior, soon after the Congressman of 18 years resigned from the party to start "a new chapter" of respecting the "aspirations" of his people.
New Delhi : "He must have taken the decision keeping the face of Rajmata in mind," said Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Jyotiraditya Scindia's aunt and the youngest daughter of Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia of Gwalior, soon after the Congressman of 18 years resigned from the party to start "a new chapter" of respecting the "aspirations" of his people.
Her comments came soon after ex-Union minister and Congress strongman from Madhya Pradesh Jyotiraditya Scindia severed his nearly two-decade long association with the party after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi here along with Home Minister Amit Shah, sinking the Kamal Nath-led 15-month-old Madhya Pradesh government into a massive crisis.
This was in more ways than one a homecoming for the former MP from Guna and a family reunion for the Scindias who have been divided in their political allegiance between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The immensely influential and from the family of the last rulers of Gwalior under the British Raj, Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia went on to become a politician. She was not only a key part of the Jan Sangh, the predecessor to BJP, but also a co-founder of the saffron party that is in power at the Centre today.
Though she entered politics in 1957 by winning from the Guna Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh on a Congress ticket, it didn't take here long to leave the party.
She then joined the Bharatiya Jan Sangh before having a very short stint in C Rajagopalachari-led Swatantra Party (which too was formed as a revolt against Jawaharlal Nehru). Since then, she has always been anti-Congress and was even sent to jail during Emergency.
Out of her five children (four daughters and a son), three made it big in public life -- Madhavrao Scindia, the father of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje. Of them, Madhavrao Scindia, who had entered politics through the family patronised Jan Sangh, soon deviated to the Congress before trying his hands as an Independent.
Since the 1980s, Madhavrao Scindia not just became a part of the Congress family, but also rose in stature within the organisation, serving as minister in various Congress governments.
At one point, he became so powerful that he even challenged Sonia Gandhi on her foreign origin. Sadly, he met an untimely death in a plane crash in September 2001.
Ever since, his son Jyotiraditya Scindia has filled his space in Madhya Pradesh politics as far as royalty is concerned and went to become, what many in Congress felt, a "shadow" of Rahul Gandhi.
All this while, Guna has been the family's unchallenged fort.
Madhavrao Scindia won from the constituency at an early age of 26. Even in the face of the Modi wave in 2014, which ousted the Congress-led UPA from the Centre, Jyotiraditya Scindia had won from Guna on a Congress ticket. However, in 2019, the Scindia family bastion fell to the BJP.
Meanwhile, his two aunts -- Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje -- continued their political journey with the BJP with the former serving as Rajasthan Chief Minister on more than one occasion. Madhavrao Scindia's family was the only aberration in an otherwise BJP-leaning Scindia lineage.
Though they always maintained a perfect symphony of a private family relationship, the political differences were too sharp to hide.
In 2018, Jyotiraditya Scindia hit out at Vasundhara Raje aunt without naming her, saying, "They (BJP government) had said they will bring many officers, but all they could bring was a 'paan', 'pakode' and 'doodh' government. This is the state of the youth in Rajasthan where 35 lakh people are unemployed."
Speaking at the same event in Jaipur in December 2018, he was asked about the political differences within the Scindia klan. He responded by saying, "The family issues should remain with the family. Do not politicise them. I am giving a clear answer to a clear question, but I will not give the byte that you want me to."
The same month, Madhya Pradesh also saw a change of government like Rajasthan. While Jyotiraditya Scindia was asked to "wait", and Kamal Nath was made the Chief Minister, the post of state Congress president also didn't land on Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Rahul Gandhi had tweeted a cryptic Tolstoy quote then, suggesting that Scindia's time has not yet come. Perhaps having sensed that the Congress, under pressure from Digvijaya Singh and Kamal Nath, will not send him to the Rajya Sabha either, Jyotiraditya Scindia has finally decided to severe all ties with the grand old party.
While some in the BJP insist that his other aunt Yashodhara Raje, also a BJP leader, has been trying to bring her nephew into the BJP fold for more than a month now, it seems that the practicality of the situation made Scindia junior call off the marriage with Congress after 18 years, on the day of his late father's 75th birth anniversary.
At the end, family blood is proving to be thicker than the political water.