Ex-Congress Stalwart Jyotiraditya Scindia Retains Berth in Modi-led Cabinet as BJP MP

Scindia’s responsibility and role in the BJP’s plans were clear from the onset of the campaigning during the 2023 assembly elections.

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jyotiraditya scindia
jyotiraditya scindia (File Photo)

Bhopal: Jyotiraditya Scindia’s induction into the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led council of ministers has cemented his importance in the BJP setup since he quit the Congress four years ago, marking the beginning of his second stint in the cabinet as a saffron party leader. In the 2024 general elections, Scindia, 53, secured a landslide victory from his traditional Guna seat, contesting as a BJP candidate for the first time, with a record margin of over 5 lakh votes.

The BJP has won all 29 constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, also wresting the Chhindwara seat, the last stronghold of Congress from the Kamal Nath family, which it had failed to win in 2019. On Sunday, Scindia was sworn in as a Cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi 3.0 government. In 2020, Scindia was first inducted as Union minister in the Modi government and assigned Civil Aviation portfolio after he helped the BJP topple the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.

Scindia’s ministerial appointment comes as a recognition of his notable performance as the Civil Aviation and Steel Minister, according to sources close to him. He won the Guna seat by a margin of 5,40,929 votes, defeating Congress’s Yadvendra Rao Deshraj Singh. This victory holds personal significance as he lost his mother, the late Rajmata Madhviraje Scindia, shortly after the polling.

Though Scindia was a Rajya Sabha member from the BJP, he contested from Guna for the first time as a saffron party candidate in his political career. Despite being a Rajya Sabha member of the BJP, this was Scindia’s first Lok Sabha contest as a BJP candidate.

He faced a significant setback in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, losing to his former aide KP Yadav of the BJP. Subsequently, Scindia joined the BJP in March 2020, citing differences with the Congress leadership. Scindia’s political lineage runs deep, with his family having represented Guna for generations.

His grandmother, the late Vijayaraje Scindia, and his father, the late Madhavrao Scindia, previously held the seat. Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia was one of the founding members of the Jana Sangh.

Born on January 1, 1971, and educated at Harvard and Stanford, Scindia entered politics after his father’s sudden death in a plane crash, winning a bypoll in 2002. He went on to clinch victories in general elections in 2004, 2009 and 2014 from Guna as a Congress leader.

He served in the then Congress-led UPA government from 2007 to 2014, holding positions as Minister of State for Communications, Commerce and Industry, and Power.

Although re-elected from Guna in 2014, he lost the seat in 2019. As the chairman of the Congress campaign committee in the 2018 Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, he played a crucial role in the party’s victory, although the Chief Ministership went to Kamal Nath.

Scindia’s discontent with the Congress leadership culminated in his switch to the BJP in 2020. A key turning point came when 22 Congress MLAs loyal to Scindia, including six ministers, resigned, dislodging the Congress government from power in his home state.

Chief Minister Chouhan had noted that the entire Scindia family was now united under the BJP banner.

Scindia’s familial ties to royalty include his mother from Nepal’s royal family and his wife from Baroda’s royal Gaekwad family. PM Modi had referred to Scindia as the “son-in-law of Gujarat.”

Scindia’s responsibility and role in the BJP’s plans were clear from the onset of the campaigning during the 2023 assembly elections.

The first test under the BJP for the ‘Maharaja of Gwalior’ was on his home turf, the Gwalior-Chambal region, which comprised 34 seats. He delivered 18 to the BJP, up from seven in 2018.

The result cemented Scindia’s importance in the BJP set-up, where he is seen as someone who enjoys the confidence of PM Modi and Amit Shah.

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