NEW DELHI – In a massive setback for the Congress, its prominent youth leader Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party, pushing the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh into virtual collapse and signalling that he is likely to join hands with the BJP.
On its part, the Congress expelled the party general secretary and scion of the erstwhile Gwalior royal family on charges of anti-party activities.
In the morning, Scindia met senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah, following which he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence.
There was no official word on what transpired in the meetings. However, BJP sources asserted that the decision of the party that the decision of the party’s top two leaders to hold long deliberations with Scindia underlined the importance they attach to him.
In the resignation letter dated March 9 to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Scindia said it was time for him to move on as he was not able to serve the people of the country while remaining in the party and that it was time for him to make a fresh start.
The Congress however said his letter was physically received at Sonia Gandhi’s residence only at 12.20 pm on Tuesday.
With Scindia quitting the party, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh appeared headed for a collapse as the former Guna MP has the support of at least 17 legislators.
The Congress has a wafer-thin majority in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly whose current effective strength is 228. The BJP has nine less at 104. The Congress also has the support of four Independents, two BSP and one SP MLA.
Noting that the events of the day had been drawing themselves out for a year, Scindia, in his letter to Gandhi, said it was now best for him to look at a fresh start.
“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 Congress and as you well know this is a path that has been drawing itself out over the last year,” Scindia wrote in the letter.
However, according to a statement from AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, “The Congress president has approved the expulsion of Jyotiraditya Scindia from the Indian National Congress with immediate effect for anti-party activities.”
In the resignation letter posted on Twitter, Scindia said, “While my aim and purpose remains the same as it has always been from the very beginning, to serve the people of my state and my country, I believe I am unable to do this anymore within this party.”
“To reflect and realise the aspirations of my people and workers I believe it is best that I now look ahead at a fresh start.”
The former Guna MP also thanked Gandhi and his other former Congress colleagues for “providing him with a platform to have served the nation”.
Meanwhile in Bhopal, 14 Congress MLAs who are loyal to Scindia have sent their resignations to Madhya Pradesh Governor Lal Ji Tandon, Raj Bhavan sources said.
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