Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday responded to a comment reportedly made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that he had become a “backbencher” in the saffron party and will have to return to the Congress if he ever hoped to become chief minister, ANI reported.

Scindia had switched over to the BJP from Congress in March last year. His exit from the party and the subsequent resignations of 22 MLAs led to the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.

“I wish Rahul Gandhi was as concerned when I was in the Congress party as he is when I am not in the Congress,” Scindia was quoted as saying by ANI. “I don’t wish to comment as I have maintained a certain level in the past one year and have always stood above that level.”

On Monday, Gandhi spoke about Scindia’s switchover while addressing members of the Congress youth wing, ANI reported. “He [Scindia] would have become the chief minister had he stayed with Congress, but Scindia has become a backbencher in the BJP,” unidentified officials quoted the Congress leader as saying. “Scindia had the option to strengthen the organisation by working with Congress workers. I told him – one day you will become the Chief Minister. But he chose another route.”

The Congress leader reportedly added: “Write it down, he will never become chief minister there [in the BJP]. He will have to come back here [to the Congress] for that.”

Last month, the BJP had dismissed speculation that Scindia and his loyalists were feeling insecure within the party.

Muralidhar Rao, BJP’s leader in-charge in Madhya Pradesh, had said that Scindia was the “leader of the entire party”. “All these leaders may have come from anywhere, now they have gelled with the BJP,” Rao had added.

While he was with the Congress, Scindia was believed to be upset about not being made the chief of Madhya Pradesh’s Congress unit or being assured of a Rajya Sabha berth.