BJP leader Yashodhara Raje spoke to reporters after Jyotiradtiya Scindia quit the Congress
Former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia's decision to quit the Congress has been welcomed by his aunt and Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA Yashodhara Raje, who praised Mr Scindia for a step "taken in (the) national interest" and called it a "ghar wapsi (homecoming)".
She pointed out that her mother, Rajmata (Queen Mother) Vijaye Raje Scindia, had played a crucial role in establishing both the Jan Sangh and the BJP, and said her party had great respect for both Jyotiraditya Scindia and his late father – nine-time Congress MLA Madhavrao Scindia.
"This is ghar wapsi (home-coming). The way he has been welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah shows their respect towards Rajmata (Vijaya Raje Scindia)," she told reporters.
"In the end, everybody needs self-respect", she added, referring to disagreements with the Congress that many believe led him to resign, such as being passed for the chief minister's post in December 2018 despite a sizeable contribution to the Congress's surprise win in Assembly polls.
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) March 10, 2020
"As you may know, when Madhavrao Scindia (Mr Scindia's father) was contesting from Gwalior, the BJP, with great respect, did not field anyone against him. We have the same respect for Jyotiraditya Scindia. This is a step in national interest," she said, "This is loyalty that transcends political lines".
Mr Scindia – once close to the Gandhi family – has been a key face in the new guard of India's oldest party, bringing in the advantage of youth and popular appeal. He was studying abroad when his father died in a plane crash.
Former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress today after 18 years as a member
Jyotiraditya Scindia, then only 30 years old, returned to join politics. A year later he was elected to the family stronghold of Guna in a by-poll.
In 2004 general elections he retained the seat and, three years later, became Union Minister of State for Information Technology in the UPA-I government headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He was re-elected for a third consecutive term in parliament in 2009 and became Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.
Mr Scindia was also name Minister of State for Power in 2012. Two years later he recorded a fourth straight win in Lok Sabha polls. He lost his seat in a shock upset to the BJP's Krishna Pal Singh Yadav in 2019.
The Scindia family of Marathas, which once ruled the Gwalior state in pre-independent central-India, has been split by political affiliations.
Jyotiraditya's two aunts – Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje – are in the BJP. The family matriarch and the mother of Vasundhara Raje, Vijaya Raje Scindia, was a founder leader of the ruling BJP. Vasundhara Raje's son Dushyant is also a BJP lawmaker.
In dramatic developments today, Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress, on the day of his father's 75th birth anniversary, shortly after meeting PM Modi and Amit Shah in Delhi. Sources say he will join the BJP at 6 pm and be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
The 49-year-old former four-time parliamentarian's move plunged the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government into crisis, as it was followed by the resignation of 20 Congress MLAs.
Minutes after his resignation the Congress hit back by expelling him for "anti-party activities".
As of today morning the Kamal Nath government had 120 MLAs – just four over the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. The BJP has 107 MLAs. If the resignations are accepted, the majority mark will come down, making it easier for the BJP to stake claim to form the government.