Father's fate visits Jyotiraditya

Father's fate visits Jyotiraditya

Congress President Rahul Gandhi (C), Congress leader and MP Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia (L) and State President Kamal Nath during a roadshow, in Bhopal. (PTI File Photo)

Call it a quirk of fate or destiny that two Congress leaders who had played a major role in preventing the late Madhavrao Scindia from becoming Madhya Pradesh chief minister 30 years ago, re-enacted the role to frustrate his son Jyotiraditya’s similar aspiration.

The leaders are chief minister-designate Kamal Nath and former chief minister Digvijay Singh.

In 1988, the then Congress president Rajiv Gandhi had asked the then chief minister late Arun Singh to resign in the wake of adverse high court comment against him in a liquor licence scandal. The high command picked Madhavrao to succeed Arjun who rebelled against the party president’s diktat. Kamal Nath, who was a close aide of Rajiv, sided with Arjun in this matter.

After much persuasion and coercion, Arjun relented on the condition that his protégé Digvijay Singh, then MPCC chief, be made the chief minister. Rajiv refused the request. After a lot of political drama, the high command yielded to Arjun’s pressure and, as compromise chose Motilal Vora in place of Madhavrao. Since then, Madhavrao never indulged in state politics until his unfortunate demise in a plane crash in 2001.

Jyotiraditya, who took the father’s political mantle, too showed little interest in MP politics. But in the last couple of years, the Scindia junior worked very hard to reach out to workers across the state. He faced opposition from Digvijay-loyalists in the endeavour to carve the image of a pan-Madhya Pradesh leader like his bête-noire.

However, despite love-hate relations with Digvijaya, Jyotiraditya managed to build a solid network across Madhya Pradesh in the past two years. His acceptability as future chief minister grew exponentially among Congress workers.

Jyotiraditya was going great guns till Kamal Nath descended in MP politics as state Congress chief in May this year. Digvijaya opted out of the CM race and pushed for his old friend Nath. Jyotiraditya was cut up but kept a facade of bonhomie, sensing adverse fallout of internecine squabbles within the party.

Both Nath and Jyotiraditya secretly aspired to become the chief minister but astutely concealed their common ambition. The Congress president wisely decided not to declare chief ministerial candidate for this election.

But after the Congress emerged victorious in the election, Jyotiraditya’s supporters became vocal in favour of their leader. Priyanka Vadra was also said to be in favour of Jyotiraditya as next CM. But her brother Rahul Gandhi decided to bank on the far more experienced and shrewd aide of his father to take the reign of Madhya Pradesh. The Congress president has challenges of 2019 Lok Sabha election in his mind.