J Scindia against Congress leaders campaigning in Parliament

'Hospitality, then goodbye': J Scindia to Congress leaders campaigning in Parliament

Jyotiraditya Scindia contested his first election in 2002, after his father’s death.


Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was facing his first election from home state Guna after switching to the BJP, seemed quite comfortable on the campaign trail. “Politics and elections are not an end for us. It is a start to advancing the practice of serving people,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

The family of ‘Maharaj’ – as the former royal family is known throughout the area – has represented the constituency since the 1950s. His grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia and his father Madhavrao Scindia were both MPs from whichever party they represented.

Mr Scindia contested his first election in 2002, after his father’s death, and was an MP four times until he lost to the BJP’s KP Singh Yadav in 2019.

This time, his main opponent is Congress’ Yadvendra Yadav, son of BJP leader Rao Deshraj Singh Yadav, who was a three-time legislator from Mungaoli. The Congress’ strategy is to consolidate the Yadav vote, which paid off for the BJP candidate in 2019.

The Yadavs form a part of Guna’s population and are expected to approve about 250,000 votes. On the rare occasions when the constituency has chosen a non-Scindia to represent them, the candidate has belonged to the Yadav community.

The influence of the Yadav community is reflected in the BJP’s choice of chief minister this time. In March, after the Congress candidate was announced, Mohan Yadav had chaired a Yadav community meeting where Mr Scindia was also present.

The minister seemed unperturbed by Congress’s choice.

“In this constituency, everyone belongs to me and I belong to everyone. The Scindias have never contested elections on the basis of caste and creed. And we have competed against candidates from every community. It is up to the party which candidate they choose,” he said. NDTV.

Asked about Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigning for the Congress candidate, Mr Scindia – who is known to have been close to the Gandhis before his switch to the BJP – said: “Any leader can come, we are offering them hospitality under the Atithi Devo Bhava (Guests are gods) maxim. We offer them hospitality and then say goodbye to them.”

For Mr Scindia, senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Uma Bharati had started campaigning last week. It was the first time she participated in the current election campaign after taking a “break from politics”. for about four months. “It is my luck. She is my aunt and has given me her blessings,” Mr Scindia said.

Asked about the chances of Digvijaya Singh, who is contesting from neighboring Raigarh, Mr Scindia said: “The Congress is bankrupt in terms of ideology and human resources. Someone leaves every day. The Congress is bankrupt in terms of leading the country’s development, and in terms of candidates.”

The BJP is hoping to win all 29 seats of Madhya Pradesh this time, including Chhindwara, which has traditionally voted for the Congress. With former Prime Minister Kamal Nath fielding his son Nakul Nath from the constituency instead of contesting himself, confidence is extremely high in the BJP camp.