Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi and was named the party’s candidate for the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. Scindia hit out at the Congress in a press conference, saying the party is “living in denial”.
Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh claimed that the government in Madhya Pradesh will win the floor test. Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destabilising the government in Madhya Pradesh.
Scindia’s exit from the party and the subsequent resignations of 22 MLAs, including six state ministers, has left the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on the verge of collapse. The Madhya Pradesh government now has a wafer-thin majority of just four above the majority mark of 116. If the resignations are accepted, the Congress will lose power.
9.02 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma says: “It is against political morality, mandate of people and against principles and precedents of parliamentary democracy.”
9 pm: Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma says the BJP has “fine-tuned the art of poaching and abducting MLAs and stealing governments”, PTI reports.
6 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party names Jyotiraditya Scindia as its Rajya Sabha candidate from Madhya Pradesh, reports ANI.
5.50 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says Jyotiraditya Scindia is the only person in the party
who could walk into his house anytime, reports ANI. He was responding to reports that Scindia tried to reach out to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and him before leaving the party but was not given time.
5.42 pm: The Madhya Pradesh MLAs who landed in Jaipur maintain that there is not threat to the Kamal Nath government, reports PTI. “The state government has the majority,” says Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria. “Our government in Madhya Pradesh is stable. I am a tribal MLA and the chief minister has sympathy from tribals. People appreciate the government’s work.”
5.40 pm: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh claims 13 of the 22 rebel MLAs in Madhya Pradesh do not want to quit the party and were led away only to create pressure on the leadership to nominate Jyotiraditya Scindia to the Rajya Sabha, reports PTI.
4.52 pm: Media reports claim that Jyotiraditya Scindia will be given a Rajya Sabha seat.
3.44 pm: BJP’s National General Secretary Ram Madhav welcomes Scindia to the party. “Used to translate his grandmother’s speeches in AP, watched with respect politics of dignity n grace of his father,” he says.
3.32 pm: The Congress says the BJP is in the business of poaching, “abducting MLAs”, reports PTI. Why is the BJP intolerant towards non-BJP governments in states which have come to office with a public mandate, the party asks.
3.30 pm: Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan welcomes Scindia to the BJP. “It is a joyous day for BJP and me personally.”
3.28 pm: BJP leader and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is Scindia’s aunt, says his grandmother and her mother would be elated at his joining the saffron party.
“I admire your strength of character and courage. It’s good to be on the same team,” she tweets.
3.08 pm: Farm loans have not been waived in Madhya Pradesh even after 18 months, he says.
3.07 pm: The future of India is safe in the hands of PM Modi, says Scindia.
3.06 pm: The youth is being ignored in Congress, says Scindia. He adds that the Madhya Pradesh government has become corrupt and has not been able to generate jobs.
3.05 pm: Scindia says his aspirations for Madhya Pradesh were shattered by the Congress and that the national party is living in denial, reports NDTV.
3.04 pm: Scindia says the Congress party is not the same today as it was before, reports NDTV. “New ideas are not recognised,” he says. He calls this moment a turning point in his life.
3 pm: Scindia thanks Nadda, Modi and Amit Shah.
2.56 pm: Scindia joins the BJP. JP Nadda welcomes him, remembers Scindia’s grandmother and party’s co-founder, late Vijaya Raje Scindia.
2.51 pm: Scindia is joined by JP Nadda, and other BJP leaders including Dharmendra Pradhan, Baijayant Panda, and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
2.49 pm: The press conference is about to begin.
2.28 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tells ANI that “opportunists” like Scindia should have left the party much sooner. “People will teach him a lesson,” he warns.
2.27 pm: Scindia is on his way to the BJP headquarters, reports say. He will join the saffron party in the presence of its president, JP Nadda.
1.47 pm: Singh claims that 13 of the 22 rebel MLAs have assured that “they are not leaving Congress”, according to News18. He adds: “Scindia was offered deputy CM post in MP, but he wanted his nominee; Kamal Nath refused to accept a ‘chela [sycophant]’.”
1.45 pm: Digvijaya Singh tells PTI that the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is confident of winning the floor test. “We are not keeping quiet, we are not sleeping,” he adds.
1.38 pm: Posters of Jyotiraditya Scindia with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah come up in Bhind.
1.31 pm: Congress leader DK Shivakumar says no one can destroy the party, reports ANI. “Leaders may come, leaders may go, that doesn’t make any difference,” he adds. “All the MLAs [Madhya Pradesh] who are here don’t want to lose their membership. I am sure they will understand, go back and save the government.”
1.25 pm: BJP leader Zafar Islam reaches Scindia’s house in Delhi, reports News18. Scindia is expected to join the saffron party 1.30 pm.
1.20 pm: Senior Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Sajjan Singh Verma claims none of the 19 party MLAs who tendered their resignations is ready to go with Scindia. “They said they were misled and taken to Bengaluru, most of them said they are not ready to join BJP,” he tells ANI.
1.16 pm: Congress MP Nakul Nath says MLAs who have gone to Karnataka will soon return to the party. “I am very confident the government will survive,” he tells ANI.
1.12 pm: Jyotiraditya Scindia’s son Mahanaryaman Scindia praises his father for resigning from the Congress.
1.04 pm: 92 Congress MLAs will land in Jaipur by 2 pm today, reports News18. These legislators have been shifted by the Congress to avoid further “poaching”.
12.54 pm: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut voices confidence that the coalition government in Maharashtra is safe. He adds that the “Madhya Pradesh virus” will not enter the state.
12.38 pm: Congress party workers who were protesting against the BJP at Golfshire Resort in Bengaluru have been detained, reports News18.
11.42 am: Congress MLAs will soon be flying from Bhopal to Jaipur.
11.30 am: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh arrives at Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s residence in Bhopal.
11.18 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destabilising the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.
11.15 am: Senior BJP leader and Scindia’s aunt Vasundhara Raje welcomes his decision. “This is ‘ghar wapsi’,” Raje tells ANI. “Madhavrao Scindia had started his political career with Jana Sangh. Jyotiraditya was being neglected in Congress.”
11.11 am: Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya says Madhya Pradesh-like situation will be seen in other states as well. “Ye shuruwat hai iss prakar Scindia ji ki, ye anya pradeshon mein bhi jayegi [This is the beginning, this will go into other states as well]”, he tells ANI.
11.10 am: Jyotiraditya Scindia will join the BJP today, according to NDTV.
10.20 am: Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker NP Prajapati says he will go by the rule book as far as taking a decision on the resignations of the MLAs is concerned, reports The Indian Express. Prajapati received the resignations of 19 Congress legislators on Tuesday. The resignations of three Congress legislators, who the BJP claimed had shifted loyalty, have not reached the Speaker yet.
9.01 am: Congress leaders Dinesh Gundu Rao and Tariq Anwar have demanded that Rahul Gandhi take over the reins of the party. “Time to make drastic changes at the top,” Rao tweets. “Whatever may happen in Madhya Pradesh, one thing is clear. It’s time for Rahul Gandhi to lead from the front. It’s time for him and the senior leaders to make drastic changes at the top. We can’t go on like this anymore. Congress needs him and he needs the party.”
8.46 am: Congress leader DK Shivakumar tells NDTV that he is in touch with the rebel MLAs from Madhya Pradesh. “19 MLAs are under ‘police custody’ in Karnataka,” he adds.
8.41 am: BJP MP Pragya Thakur says “achche din aa gaye [good days are here]”, reports ANI. Asked about the likelihood of Scindia joining BJP, she says, “Everything will be decided in the meeting.”
8.30 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath voices confidence that his government will withstand the political crisis. “There is nothing to worry about,” he tells NDTV. “We will prove our majority. Our government will complete its term.”