It was one meeting that could have saved the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh. But it never took place.
Jyotiraditya Scindia sought an urgent meeting with Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday morning. After being asked to "wait" for the Chief Ministership in Madhya Pradesh and subsequently being blocked from being the MP Congress Chief, Scindia had a fair sense that he may be blocked from being sent to the Rajya Sabha as well, in the March 26 election.
But by afternoon, Sonia Gandhi''s office told Scindia saying the meeting could not take place on Sunday. This made Scindia certain that Chief Minister Kamal Nath and and former CM Digvijaya Singh, two old warhorses of Madhya Pradesh who seemed to have a common interest in launching their sons'' political careers, have prevailed over the interim Congress president against sending Scindia to the upper house.
Sources say that Scindia called up an aide of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to touch base with him. However, it is pertinent to say, the two had met before.
Scindia made up his mind to bite the bullet and end his 18-year old relationship with the Congress party. His two aunts - Vasundhara Raje, and Yashodhara Raje - are already with the BJP with the former having served as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan for more than one occasion.
Sources privy to the development said that then the first batch of his loyalist MLAs were flown in to New Delhi overnight and at 8 a.m. on the next day, sent to Bengaluru by a chartered flight. Scindia''s personal assistant turned MLA Purshottam Prashar accompanied nine others in the early monday flight to Bengaluru in that chartered flight operated by M/S Air Charter Services Private Limited.
By evening, 19 MLAs were found at Prestige Golf Links near Nandi Hills, away from their constituencies, and their state. Out of them, six were ministers. While the number of MLAs staying there were 17, two of the four MLAs, who had come down last week have stayed back in Bengaluru. Thus, the number went up to 19.
By Monday evening, the party woke up to the seriousness of the situation with Kamal Nath, who was in Delhi, having an urgent meeting with Sonia Gandhi to formulate a strategy to undo the damage. He went back to call an emergency cabinet meeting without his absconding cabinet colleagues and took the resignation of all the sitting ministers.
Why did he do that? It is believed to send a signal that the cabinet will be revamped and the disgruntled MLAs stand a fair chance to be inducted as ministers, should they come back. Meanwhile, Digvijaya Singh, while being asked about Scindia, cited the later being infected with swine flu. Many believe, even the choice of disease that never was, further humiliated Scindia.
With numbers by by his side, on Tuesday morning as Delhi celebrated Holi, Scindia met Amit Shah, still the de facto BJP President. With the final talks over, and intricacies worked out, Shah and Scindia went to 7 Lok Kalyan Marg to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the final seal of approval.
Coming out, Scindia tweeted his resignation letter that was typed and kept ready since Monday. The date on it says March 9. And as they say, the rest is history.
Be it Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, Vasundhara Raje or Yashodhara Raje - all espoused teh anti-Congress politics. It was only Rajmata''s son Madhavrao Scindia who stayed with the Congress. On Tuesday, the birth anniversary of his father, his son Jyotiraditya cut that only string that connected the grand old party and the Scindias of Gwalior.
The going between the two had become way too rough as Scindia has stated in his resignation letter itself. Had Sunday''s meeting takem place and a patient hearing given to Scindia who feels wronged, the Congress would not be in the political mess it is right now.
(Anindya Banerjee can be reached at email@example.com)
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