How Jyotiraditya Scindia ran out of ‘patience and time’ with Congress
Jyotiraditya Scindia’s decision caps weeks and months of speculation about his plans. In his letter to Sonia Gandhi, Scindia alluded to developments in Madhya Pradesh Congress over the past year that he indicated, had led him to take the decision to walk out of the party.Updated: Mar 10, 2020 19:03 IST
Soon after the party’s victory in the December 2018 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections and after days of hectic deliberations over the selection of the chief minister, the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi had posted a picture with Jyotiraditya Scindia on his right and Kamal Nath on his left with a line borrowed from Leo Tolstoy’s famous quote.
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time,” Gandhi had tweeted on December 13, 2018.
The line was taken from Tolstoy’s quote: “Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
But after 15 months, Scindia had run out of patience with the Congress and on Monday he decided to end his 18-year-old association with the party.
Watch | Jyotiraditya Scindia resigns from Congress, likely to join the BJP
In November last year, Scindia had removed Congress from his Twitter bio and instead wrote “public servant and cricket enthusiast”.
The move triggered speculation about him leaving the Congress but he later clarified that he had changed his bio on people’s advice to make it shorter.
The Congress had opted for Nath despite Scindia leading from the front in the assembly elections and helping in ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power after 15 years.
Nath was handed over the reins of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh in April 2018 and continued to hold the post even after becoming the chief minister in December that year.
Since then, the Congress has held several rounds of discussions to replace him but failed to zero in on to find a new name.
The move had angered Scindia’s supporters who were demanding that he should be made the state Congress president after being denied the chief ministership.
Initially, the Congress leadership had conveyed that the new chief will be appointed after the Lok Sabha elections as it did not want to disturb the status quo.
In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi, on January 23 last year, named Scindia and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as two general secretaries for Uttar Pradesh and assigned him the responsibility of looking after the party affairs in the western part of the state. Both were also inducted in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision making body.
And when Rahul Gandhi stepped down as the Congress president at a CWC meeting on May 25 after the party’s humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, Scindia was among the few leaders who resigned from their posts. He had also lost the Lok Sabha elections from his stronghold Guna.
After the Lok Sabha polls, Nath met Congress president Sonia Gandhi a few times to discuss the probable names. However, consensus eluded and the decision remained pending.
As the differences escalated between Nath and Scindia over the Congress dispensation’s alleged failure to fulfill its pre-poll promises, the high command constituted panels for Madhya Pradesh and other states for better coordination between the party and the government.
Soon after the Delhi election which he termed “disappointing”, Scindia had told reporters at Prithvipur in Madhya Pradesh that the Congress needs to reinvent itself with new ideology, new thinking and new ways of functioning.
“In the past 70 years, the country has changed a lot. And in the new era, we have to go to people with a new thinking and new ideology. We also have to evolve a new way of functioning,” he had said.
Early last month, Scindia even threatened to hit the streets if the state government continued to delay the announcement of farm loan waiver and regularisation of services of striking guest teachers as promised by the Congress in its manifesto.
He soon reiterated his threat insisting that fighting for the people’s issues is his ‘dharma’.
“Let him,” was Nath’s response, escalating the tension between the two and it peaked as the Rajya Sabha elections approached. Three vacant Rajya Sabha seats from Madhya Pradesh are going to polls on March 26 out of which the Congress and the BJP were sure of getting one each and the third one was heading for a contest.
His last engagement in the Congress was on February 26 when he attended a CWC meeting on Delhi violence.
Scindia clearly hinted that his patience had run out in his resignation letter.
“Having been a primary member of the Congress Party for the last 18 years, it is now time for me to move on. 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,” read his resignation letter.
“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,” he said.
“To reflect and realise the aspirations of my people and my workers I believe it is best that I now look ahead at a fresh start,” Scindia further wrote.
He is now expected to announce that fresh start soon.