Jyotiraditya Scindia calls his Guna constituency in Madhya Pradesh his "temple".
"This is my temple. Campaigning is no different from other times when I come to my constituency," says the Union minister of state for power and three-time sitting MP from Guna, who is contesting from the Lok Sabha seat for yet another term on a Congress ticket.
"I come here for five days every month. Everything else can wait but not my monthly visit to my constituency. And every time I come here, I come with a gift for my people. This is how I have built the Rs. 9,000-crore investment profile over five years across various sectors in my constituency."
In an interview with HT, the Congress leader talks about his party, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and more.
Of late, we have seen an exodus from the Congress to the BJP all over the country, especially in Madhya Pradesh (MP). Any comment?
Oh, I am tired of answering this question! Movement of workers between parties before the elections is nothing new or unusual. Some people come, some people go. There is no exodus. A number of leaders from other parties have joined the Congress too.
In a rally at Katni to announce the entry of the Congress MLA from Vijayraghavgarh, Sanjay Pathak, into the BJP, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Katni had become a 'Congress-free' district with Pathak's departure from the party. Your reaction?
The chief minister these days is speaking the language of the leader his looks up to.
Do you feel any concern about the state of affairs in the Congress in Madhya Pradesh?
It will not be true if I say no. Yes, we are concerned and looking into the weaknesses in the party, so that we can work on them.
Congress workers and supporters in Madhya Pradesh are looking forward to the day when you will lead the party in the state. When will that happen?
I do not reply to hypothetical questions – the ones about if, who and when. As of now, I am concentrating on the elections in my constituency and the Chambal region.
Some of your colleagues in the Congress have admitted that the party is an underdog in the upcoming elections. Do you agree?
Who said this? There is no question of agreeing to such a view! The UPA is seeking a mandate on the basis of its track record of development and progress. Our track record during UPA-I brought us to power for a second term, and what we have done during UPA-II will bring us to power again.
Does the candidature of BJP's Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya from Guna make any difference to your prospects?
There are two ways a person can tread. He can either be positive towards things or negative. I have brought Rs. 9,000 crore investment in the Guna constituency. The other person (Pawaiya) has no report card. When a person has nothing to show, negativity will creep in.
What is your personal opinion about Narendra Modi?
I believe only a person who can keep India united can lead India. A person who leads India should be more than sharp in mind – he must be compassionate at heart. A person has two aspects – bent of mind and passion of heart. I have always felt the latter is more important than the former.
India is a country based on the repository of thousands of years of spiritualism, and only someone conforming to that tradition can lead India. I am also saying this because the Congress is the only party with a pan-India presence. We have workers in every city, town, block, village and ward across the country.