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The Scindia Factor

Jyotiraditya Scindia's Influence on Madhya Pradesh Politics


Jyotiraditya Scindia, a stalwart of the Congress party for nearly two decades, made headlines in 2020 by shifting his allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This defection had a seismic impact, causing more than 22 Congress members to follow suit, ultimately leading to the downfall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, which had recently regained power after a 15-year hiatus.

Beyond the political manoeuvring, Scindia commands not only the loyalty of party members but also significant support from the public. Fondly referred to as 'Maharaj,' particularly in the Gwalior-Chambal region, he hails from the esteemed royal family of the state. His late father, Mahadev Scindia, held the distinction of being the second most prominent leader in the Congress, poised to potentially become the next Prime Minister of the country. Scindia entered politics following his father's demise, swiftly garnering popularity and continuing the family legacy in the state.

The influence of Scindia in Madhya Pradesh politics is profound and cannot be underestimated. His political stronghold extends beyond party lines, making him a formidable force in the state's political landscape. Against this backdrop, this article seeks to delve into the 'Scindia factor' and his influence in BJP’s win in the 2023 Assembly elections.

Contrary to some perceptions that Jyotiraditya Scindia might not wield the same influence in the BJP as he did in the Congress, a nuanced analysis challenges this viewpoint.

In this election, Scindia in a recent interview has said that he along with the party worked quietly in the state and crafted a strategy at the micro level in the state. In a rally, the Prime Minister emphasised a dual association with Scindia, citing the Gwalior royals' contributions to Varanasi (Modi's parliamentary constituency) and highlighting Scindia as "Gujarat's son-in-law."

During the by-elections, the BJP fielded all 19 Scindia supporters from their respective assembly seats. Out of these, 13 emerged victorious while 6 faced defeat. Impressively, the nine among the victorious candidates were subsequently appointed to cabinet berths in the Shivraj government, showcasing Scindia's influence in shaping the political landscape.

In this Assembly elections, the BJP secured victory in the state. Out of the 16 scindia loyalists fielded in the elections, nine emerged victorious. Notably, Imarti Devi, who contested under the INC banner, had previously won in both the 2013 and 2018 assembly elections, lost in the subsequent elections under BJP.

Defected MLAs* 2013 AE 2018 AE 2020 BYE ELECTIONS 2023 AE
Tulsiram Silawat L W W W
Govind Singh Rajput L W W W
Dr Prabhuram Choudhry L W W W
Imarti Devi W W L L
Pradhuman Singh Tomar L W W W
Mahendra Singh Sisodia W W W L
Manoj Choudhary NC W W W
Hardeep Singh Dang W W W W
Rajvardhan Singh L W W L
Brajendra Singh Yadav NC W W W
Jajpal Jajji L W W L
Suresh Dhakad NC W W L
Kamlesh Jatav NC W W L
Raghuraj Kansana NC W L L
Aidal Singh Kansana L W L W
Bisahu Lal Singh L W W W

*MLAs who defected from INC in 2020 in support of Scindia and joined BJP. Note: W-Won, L- Lost, NC- Not contested

Only one of these candidates won in all the four elections and six candidates won in the three consecutive elections which shows that Scindia’s defect to the BJP worked out in the favour of BJP and helped garner support for the party.

In the Gwalior region which is considered to be a stronghold for congress and the reason is often attributed to Scindia, BJP won 57% of the seats. In the Chambal region, BJP won in six seats.

AE 2023
Chambal 6 7
Gwalior 12 9

Source of Table: ECI

He is regarded as a political kingmaker with the potential to topple governments, his impact remains undeniable. However, it is essential to note that the BJP’s win this year cannot be attributed to one person or a region alone. In Madhya Pradesh several factors including the influence of PM Modi, welfare schemes such as Ladli Behna as well as the ground work done by BJP in the state has led to the party’s overwhelming victory. While he is stationed at the centre, there have been discussions around his Chief Ministerial candidature.

Will Shivraj Singh continue to lead the state or will Scindia manage the reigns? Watch this space for more such insights on the Madhya Pradesh Elections.


Sara Nasreen

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