"I know Jyotiraditya Scindia's ideology, he was with me in college," Rahul Gandhi said
Rahul Gandhi, speaking on his close aide Jyotiraditya Scindia's defection to the BJP, said he "abandoned his ideology" because he was worried about his political future. "There is a difference between what Jyotiraditya Scindia is saying and what is in his heart," the Congress leader told reporters, reminding that they had known each other since college days.
Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress, his party of 18 years, and joined the BJP yesterday in one of the most high-profile crossovers in recent times. At a press conference at the BJP headquarters yesterday, he said the Congress had lost touch with reality and was no longer the party it used to be.
"This is a fight of ideology, clear cut. On one side is Congress and the BJP-RSS on the other. I know Jyotiraditya Scindia's ideology, he was with me in college, I know him very well. He got worried about his political future, put his ideology in his pocket and went with the RSS," said Rahul Gandhi.
"The reality is, he will get neither respect there, neither will the emotion in his heart get satisfaction. I have an old friendship with Jyotiraditya," predicted the MP, who quit as Congress president last year after the party's second straight national election drubbing.
Mr Scindia, once close to the Gandhis, had been in a sulk for more than a year but sources close to him have claimed that he failed to get an appointment with Congress's first family. His cousin Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, a former Tripura royal, said: "I know for a fact Jyotiraditya Scindia was trying to meet Rahul Gandhi for months, no appointment was given."
Countering this, Mr Gandhi said yesterday that Mr Scindia was among those who could walk into his house anytime. "He is the only chap in Congress who could walk into my house anytime," he said.
Mr Gandhi also re-tweeted his own post from nearly 15 months ago, when he had brokered peace between Kamal Nath and Mr Scindia in the fight for Madhya Pradesh chief ministership. The photo, showing him linking arms with the feuding leaders, was captioned: "The two most powerful warriors are patience and time — Leo Tolstoy."
At the BJP press meet, Mr Scindia was encouraged by party chief JP Nadda to "speak freely as there is democracy here", but the former Congress leader kept his criticism confined to the party, without naming individuals.