“Ghar Wapsi”: Why Jyotiraditya Scindia Leaving the Congress and Joining the BJP Comes as No Surprise

Politics

“Ghar Wapsi”: Why Jyotiraditya Scindia Leaving the Congress and Joining the BJP Comes as No Surprise

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

In the last 24 hours, Jyotiraditya Scindia has become the most talked-about personality in Indian politics after making the announcement that he was quitting the Indian National Congress and joining the grand old party’s ideological opponent, the BJP soon after. For 18 years, Scindia has enjoyed a prominent position in INC, but events in the last few years have seen his once-solid relationship with the party start to fray. A leader of Scindia’s profile growing restless is not a good look for the Congress, and INC’s loss has easily become BJP’s gain.

In 2018, Scindia was one of the faces of INC’s victory in the Madhya Pradesh state assembly elections, but didn’t land either the CM’s post or the state party president’s post in the aftermath. In 2019, he lost his Lok Sabha election race by a massive margin to a BJP upstart who enjoyed neither his political pedigree nor his name recognition. And now, in 2020, jaded with his prospects in the party, Scindia has quit, and 21 MLAs from Madhya Pradesh have followed him.

Scindia announced his decision by tweeting a photo of his resignation letter to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. https://twitter.com/JM_Scindia/status/1237266942961967104

In response, INC put out a statement of its own just hours later, expelling him from the party, in a classic case of “You can’t quit; you’re fired!” https://twitter.com/INCSandesh/status/1237273450877571072

Scindia announced his decision by tweeting a photo of his resignation letter to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

Since then, speculation was rife over Scindia’s next step, with most believing that he would land with BJP and become instrumental in the restructuring of MP’s state assembly, perhaps even leading to a new government formation led by BJP.

The move has attracted its share of detractors from Scindia’s old party. One of the most scathing responses to Scindia’s move has come from Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, who called him an “opportunist” in an interview and tweeting that Scindia had betrayed the trust of the people. https://twitter.com/ashokgehlot51/status/1237298449738911744

This frantic response prompted many on Twitter to draw a parallel between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh’s political make-up – several users asked Gehlot to resign and offer the post to the clearly more popular Sachin Pilot. When the Congress had come to power in both the states, several op-eds had pointed out that Pilot and Scindia had both been overlooked.

Meanwhile, across the aisle, BJP members were celebrating Scindia’s arrival in their camp. Scindia’s aunt and BJP MLA from MP Yashodhara Raje hailed his decision as a move in the national interest and called it a “ghar wapsi” while speaking to reporters.

https://twitter.com/VasundharaBJP/status/1237671154103382017?s=20

Indeed, terming Scindia’s potential move to BJP as a “homecoming” is not far from the truth, as Scindia has two aunts – Yashodhara Raje and Vasundhara Raje – occupying prominent posts in the party, and his father Madhavrao Scindia had started his career in the Congress-opposed Jana Sangh.

Now that Scindia’s decision to join BJP has been formalised, one question still remains: Which direction will Madhya Pradesh’s political drama now head in?

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