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Scindia's BJP fan causes flutter
Bhopal, Oct 13 - A month after he welcomed the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia was embarrassed by a king size 'thank you' note during his two-day visit to Bhind last weekend.
A large bill-board put up by his "fan" in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bracketed him with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Hridayesh Sharma, a former spokesperson of the BJP, apparently thought the party would be pleased with him. But no one seemed amused by the idea. Sharma's billboard showed Scindia, Modi and Shah along with the 'Bharat Mata' holding the tricolour.
Sharma has now joined the Bharat Raksha Manch, a splinter group of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
"We will respect and admire any leader, even if he is from the Congress, for standing up to the national cause," said Sharma.
Scindia was a national leader with roots in the BJP. His grandmother, among others, had built the Jan Sangh and nobody can deny that, said Sharma.
At a time when Scindia is being cornered by the factions of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh and Chief Minister Kamal Nath, an impression has been created within the Congress that he could be lured into the BJP.
The leader of opposition in the state Assembly, Gopal Bhargava, has also issued a statement asking Scindia to quit the Congress instead of putting up with the humiliation.
Scindia's statements in other contexts have added to the speculation about him looking for life outside the Congress. Three days back, he had said that his party needed to do some introspection to set things right.
His comment came in response to media query about another senior leader Salman Khurshid's statement about leadership "vacuum" in the party. Khurshid had said on Monday that the Congress was taking too long to come to terms with its defeat in the Lok Sabha elections besides expressing his unhappiness over Rahul Gandhi "walking away" as Congress President in the wake of the party's poll debacle.
"I don't comment on others' statements, but it is true that the Congress needs introspection. The party's situation should be assessed and improved, and this is the need of the hour," Scindia had said.
In another public address in the Chambal region, Scindia questioned his own government over farmers' loan waiver. He said the farm loan waiver has only partially been implemented. "Only Rs 50,000 has been waived off while we had said that loans up to Rs 2 lakh will be written off," he had said.
Kamal Nath promptly acknowledged that Scindia was right and the party was committed to waive the loans in phases.
Meanwhile, Scindia's faction is trying to quell the wave of speculation by denying the possibilities of him jumping ship to the BJP.
"Scindiaji won't join the BJP at any cost," said Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi.
"Nothing should be read into Scindiaji's picture appearing with Modiji and Shah in the same poster," added Chaturvedi, a Scindia loyalist.
In the same sequence, the other talking point was Scindia's dinner at the residence of Govind Singh, an avowed supporter of Digvijaya Singh. Govind Singh had acknowledged Scindia as the number two leader in the state after Kamal Nath, saying the state would certainly gain immensely if Scindia was made the Pradesh Congress Committee chief.
The continuing skirmishes between the leaders haven't gone down well with the followers of all the factions. The October 21 by-election in Jhabua, where the Congress has high stakes, is also being affected by factional frictions.
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