Scindia, who had managed to get 12 of his loyalists to become part of Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet that inducted 28 ministers in July last year, finally made his way to the Centre. After union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, he will be the second most influential leader representing the Gwalior-Chambal region in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
BJP workers celebrating at state head office in Bhopal.
Scindia (50) and Virendra Kumar (67) were among 43 other members who were sworn-in as ministers in the union council. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulated the newly inducted ministers.
“With the expansion of the union cabinet under the leadership of the successful Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi ji, the path of progress of the country and various states will be more smooth and faster. Hearty congratulations to Jyotiraditya M Scindia ji on assuming the post of union cabinet minister,” tweeted Chouhan.
BJP MP president, Vishnu Dutt Sharma said, “Many thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and congratulations to the newly appointed ministers. Pm Modi is taking great care of Madhya Pradesh. I am thankful to him for expressing confidence in our leaders. Scindia and Virendra Kumar are efficient administrators, hardworking and combative politicians. I am hopeful that the state will get due cooperation from both the ministers,” said Sharma.
In 2018, Congress came to power in Madhya Pradesh after 15 years and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress MP was indirectly projected as the face of the government. Scindia has always been a top leader of politics in Gwalior-Chambal region. During the assembly elections, he was the president of the Congress Election Campaign Committee and a star campaigner. He had successfully created an atmosphere in favor of the Congress by holding a maximum number of election rallies. But Congress leadership promoted Kamal Nath.
Scindia’s divorce from the Congress epitomises the culmination of a tussle between the old and the new guard of the party. Scindia was in an ego clash with Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh. But in BJP he has been treading cautiously amid old guards and the next generation of BJP.
After joining BJP, the Maharaja has transformed into `Bhai Saab’ across Madhya Pradesh but for the voters of Gwalior-Chambal region, he is still a Maharaja. The 2018 assembly election that saw the BJP lose the state after a 15-year rule also weakened the position of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. A 13-year stint as the chief minister had made Chouhan the face of anti-incumbency, and recently there were talks of change of the guard but Scindia’s support and Chouhan’s long hold of the power lever in the state, helped him to manage a come back as the CM last year.
Scindia, whose exit from the Congress-led to the collapse of the party’s Madhya Pradesh government and brought the BJP to power in the state in March 2020, got a lion’s share during the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet reshuffle, appointments in the state working committee and allocation to the districts in-charge ministers. He is making his presence felt in Madhya Pradesh’s politics, unlike how he was when part of the Congress. His recent tours of Gwalior-Chambal, Madhya Bharat and Malwa regions were part of his attempts to get accepted in the saffron culture.
By winning by-elections on 28 seats left by his supporter MLAs after they decided to quit the Congress, Scindia made it very clear that those who chose to trust him and walk away from Kamal Nath’s Congress government too have been heavily rewarded. By bringing the Maharaja of Gwalior on board, the BJP national leadership has also hinted at its possible move to keep a check on old BJP leaders.
Reports of celebrations also poured in from Gwalior-Chambal region after Scindia took oath of office. Scindia’s trusted lieutenant and cabinet minister Pradyuman Singh Tomar reached New Delhi to congratulate his mentor while other ministers including Tulsiram Silawat, Mahendra Singh Sisodia and Govind Singh Rajput congratulated him on his elevation. Scindia said as a cabinet minister, he would discharge his duties with full vigour and capacity.
“I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and the top leadership for being inducted into the union cabinet and reposing faith in me. I assure that whatever responsibility has been given to me, I will discharge it with full capacity and dedication by following the policies of the party under the able leadership of respected Shri Modi ji,” tweeted Scindia.
He also thanked all well-wishers and congratulated his cabinet colleagues. “Congratulations to all colleagues who have been inducted into the union cabinet under the leadership of our illustrious Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji. We all collectively will make our full contribution in taking the country forward on the path of development under the guidance of the Prime Minister. My best wishes to all,” he said.
For Virendra Kumar Khatik, who represented the union cabinet from 2017 to 2019 and retained the cabinet berth during the first rejig of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, greetings came on social media sites. BJP workers celebrating the occasion were displaying the posters of Scindia. Supporters of Virendra Kumar were not present in the office though, celebrations were held in Sagar and greetings came through social media for the SC leader.
Virendra Kumar has been inducted as cabinet minsiter to fill the space created by senior Dalit leader Thawar Chand Gahlot, who has been appointed as Governor of Karnataka. A seventh time MP from Tikamgarh constituency in Madhya Pradesh and a former union minister, Virendra Kumar is the prominent Scheduled Caste leader of BJP. His elevation to the post of central minister will help the party manage Dalit voters during the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Tikamgarh is the prominent district bordering several towns of Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh and Virendra Kumar will play a key role in wooing the voters, said sources.
With the new team, Gwalior-Chambal region will have two union ministers, Scindia and Narendra Singh Tomar and five state ministers while Bundelkhand region will have two union ministers, Prahlad patel and Virendra Kumar apart from four ministers in the Madhya Pradesh cabinet.