Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s pointsperson in the northeast and a former Congressman, today welcomed Jyotiraditya Scindia into the party, saying they will have a great time together. Mr Scindia was expelled by the Congress this morning after he sent a resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi and flew out 17 loyalist MLAs to Bengaluru yesterday, bringing the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh to the brink of collapse.
The group, along with three others, said they e-mailed their resignation letters to the Speaker. Mr Scindia, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah today, is expected to join the BJP in the evening.
Ahead of the ceremony, Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted:
A great #Holi this is!
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) March 10, 2020
Mr Sarma, who practically delivered the northeast to the BJP, had parted with the Congress in 2017, saying he was upset with the treatment from the party high command, much like Jyotiraditya Scindia.
A close confidant of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he had rebelled against his mentor when the Congress refused to consider him for the top post in Assam.
After quitting the party, Mr Sarma had squarely blamed Rahul Gandhi, claiming that he would not have taken the final step had Mr Gandhi had not paid more “attention” to his pet than him (Mr Sarma) when he went to meet the then Congress vice president in Delhi.
The Congress did not make public the reason why Mr Sarma was shunned, but sources said Rahul Gandhi had objected since his name figured in a chit fund scam.
In case of Mr Scindia, the former MP had sent a letter of resignation to Sonia Gandhi, dated March 9, in which he said, “This is the path that has been drawing itself out over the last one year.”
Jyotiraditya Scindia was passed over chief ministership after the party won the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh in 2018.
The 49-year-old, who made it clear that he played a substantial role in the party’s victory, was not offered any key position either. The Chief Ministership as well as the post of the party’s state unit chief went to Kamal Nath.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, he was given the task of rebuilding the party from the grassroots level in Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress has been out of power for decades.
For his move this time, the trigger was the Rajya Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh. The Congress has one sure-shot seat and another that requires the outside support of two more MLAs. Mr Scindia reportedly wanted the definite seat, which was earmarked for Dijvijaya Singh.