Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh BJP may be taking potshots at Jyotiraditya Scindia, the MP Congress campaign committee chief, describing him as a ‘Maharaja’, completely cutoff from the problems of the common man – a royal who eats food in silver utensils, lives in a palatial palace and has never done anything to make a living.
In fact, ‘Maaf Karo Maharaj’ is the tagline of its advertisement blitzkrieg for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh.
But the fact is that both the BJP and the Congress have been using the Scindias to cash in on their immense popularity. The BJP is banking on them not only in Madhya Pradesh, but also in the neighbouring Rajasthan. And it has more Scindias in its ranks than the Congress.
Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, the grandmother of Jyotiraditya, was the national vice-president of the BJP for years. Two sisters of Jyotiraditya’s father Madhavrao – Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje – are in the BJP. The former is the chief minister of Rajasthan and the latter is a minister in the Shivraj government.
Yashodhara Raje is so conscious of her royal credentials that she had even demanded that she should be addressed as Shrimant – a royal honorific – even in official communications.
In the Gwalior-Chambal area of Madhya Pradesh – bordering UP – discussion is simply not allowed on whether a Scindia will emerge victorious in the elections.
His or her margin of victory is the only issue you can talk about. No Scindia has, till date, lost from the region.
The Scindias, who ruled this region for over 250 years, are held in awe and reverence even 70 years after they ceased to lord over the kingdom. Besides the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Scindias were the only indigenous rulers in the country who were given a 21-gun-salute status by the British government.
Jyotiraditya Scindia is Congress MP from Guna. His victory in the 2014 General Elections was the fourteenth victory of a Scindia from Guna. His Bua (father’s sister) Yashodhararaje Scindia is an MLA from Shivpuri constituency in the region.
The hold the Scindias have in the region is evident by the fact that Guna is being represented by the Scindias since the first General Elections in 1957. Only thrice since then was a non-Scindia elected from Guna. And on all the three occasions, not only no Scindia was in the fray but also the victors enjoyed the backing of the “Mahal”.
Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia was elected from Guna six times, Madhavrao Scindia four times and Jyotiraditya, thrice. Ditto Gwalior, from where Rajmata was elected once, Yashodhararaje twice and Madhavrao Scindia five times.
Parties don’t matter
No matter from which party they contest, no matter whether they campaign or not, no matter who their opponent is, the victory of the Scindias is a foregone conclusion. The Scindias—from Rajmata to Jyotiraditya—have, at various points in time, won as candidates of Bharatiya Janasangh, Congress, BJP, Swatantra party and as Independents. Even Atal Behari Vajpayee lost to Madhavrao Scindia in Gwalior.
As for the Scindias themselves, they have always taken the stand that they would not contest or campaign against each other. The Rajmata never canvassed in favour of the BJP, when Madhavrao was in the fray from the Congress and the son returned the compliment. Similarly, Yashodhararaje kept away from Guna in the last Lok Sabha polls and Jyotiraditya was willing to campaign for the Congress anywhere in the country except from Shivpuri in the assembly polls.
The Scindia saga, apparently, is unlikely to end soon.