Former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress. (File)
Former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress today, ending his nearly two-decade long association with the party, soon after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah this morning. He is likely to join the BJP, co-founded by his grandmother Vijaya Raje Scindia, plunging the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh into crisis.
"Having been a primary member of the Congress Party for the last 18 years, it is now time for me to move on," the 49-year-old leader – four-time parliamentarian from Guna in Madhya Pradesh – wrote in his resignation letter addressed to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, dated March 9.
"I am tendering my resignation from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress and as you well know, this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year," he added.
Important Notification pic.twitter.com/t9I5WsbVTS
— INC Sandesh (@INCSandesh) March 10, 2020
"While my aim and purpose remain the same as it has always been from the very beginning, to serve the people of my state and country, I believe I am unable to do this anymore with this party," the letter read.
Minutes later, the Congress tweeted that Mr Scindia has been expelled from the party for "anti-party activities".
— Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (@JM_Scindia) March 10, 2020
Mr Scindia – once close to the Gandhis – has been a key face in the new guard of India's oldest party, bringing in the advantage of youth and popular appeal. He entered politics in 2001 and joined the Congress after the death of his father Madhavrao Scindia in a plane crash.
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, Vijayaraje Scindia, was a founder leader of the ruling BJP. Vasundhara Raje's son Dushyant is also a BJP lawmaker.
Mr Scindia's exit from the Congress was followed by the resignation of 19 Madhya Pradesh MLAs supporting the party this afternoon. Sources say another six MLAs are expected to quit, plunging the Kamal Nath government into trouble.
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 expected, the majority mark will come down, making it easier for the BJP to stake claim to form the government.