Will Jyotiraditya be second time lucky in MP?

Will Jyotiraditya be second time lucky in MP?

New Delhi: Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia arrives to attend the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday, July 19, 2018. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma) (PTI7_19_2018_000043B)

After a failed campaign in 2013, Congress leader and the scion of the Gwalior royal family Jyotiraditya Scindia has redoubled efforts to bring his party back to power in Madhya Pradesh after a gap of 15 years.

A large section of his followers in the Gwalior-Chambal region hope to see their ‘Maharaj’ as the next chief minister, but the Congress has refrained from declaring a chief ministerial face in a bid to have a semblance of unity in the faction-ridden state unit of the party.

Scindia, seen by a section as a haughty leader, is also making efforts to reach out to the masses by running marathons and sporting onion and chilli garlands to highlight the agrarian distress in the state.

Since the 2013 polls, when he was named as the Congress Campaign Committee chairman for the first time, Scindia has travelled to the rural hinterland in the state and the efforts appeared to have paid off when the Congress retained the Kolaras and Mungaoli Assembly seats in the bypolls earlier this year.

In 2013, Chouhan capitalised on the social welfare schemes of his government and pitched the elections as a battle between a commoner and the ‘Maharaj’. The campaign worked wonders for the BJP, which is eyeing an encore this year.

However, the BJP campaign ‘Maaf Karo Maharaj, Hamara Neta Shivraj’ appears to cut little ice with the electorate, this giving Scindia the edge in the November 28 elections.

“If my being born in a royal family is a crime, then I accept it. I am proud of my family, At the same time they must not forget that my grandmother Rajmata Scindia — who comes from the same family — had a key role in the rise of BJP as a political party,” said Scindia, who has again been made the chairman of the Congress Campaign Committee.

Scindia has been on a whirlwind campaign across the Gwalior-Chambal region for the past one week and also paid flying visits to the Malwa-Nimad region of the state, which formed the erstwhile Gwalior state.

However, even if the Congress manages to win Madhya Pradesh, Scindia will have a stiff challenge for the leadership from state Congress chief Kamal Nath and also from old warhorse and two-time chief minister Digvijaya Singh.

Though Scindia supporters have refrained from declaring him as the chief ministerial hopeful, candidates loyal to Kamal Nath were openly seeking votes to make their leader the chief minister. Congress leadership had apparently foreseen the rivalry had asked both Scindia and Nath not to contest the polls.

Born on January 1, 1971, Jyotiraditya went to the Campion School in Bhopal and later to the Doon School in Dehradun. He studied economics at the Harvard University and went on to pursue MBA from Stanford.

He took the political plunge after the death of his father Madhavrao Scindia in a plane crash in 2001. In 2002, he won the Guna Lok Sabha seat represented by his late father and has never lost an election ever since.

Scindia had served as Minister of State for Communications & IT in 2007 and later as MoS Commerce & Industry in 2009. He was appointed Minister of State with Independent Charge of Power in 2012.

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