The rise and rise of Jyotiraditya Scindia: Will he be king or kingmaker in Madhya Pradesh?

The elections mark the rise of Scindia as formidable national leader from the state

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with Union Ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP State President VD Sharma celebrate the party's lead during counting of votes for MP Assembly elections, in Bhopal, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 | PTI

"I am neither a king nor a kingmaker,” was what Jyotiraditya Scindia had told THE WEEK in the middle of his battle. Now, the battle won, what would he be - king or kingmaker?

With the spectacular show of the BJP in his fief of Gwalior-Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh, Scindia's stature has grown manifold. Could he be the contender for the throne in Bhopal which Shivraj Singh Chauhan has been occupying for over 16 years even though he has ruled himself out of the race?

The Gwalior Maharaja who propelled Congress to victory in Madhya Pradesh in 2018 as he helped party win majority of the seats in his pocket borough Gwalior-Chambal region and then even brought down the government as he felt slighted has worked his magic again – this time for the BJP.

A lot was riding for Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiradtiya Scindia in the current Madhya Pradesh. With impressive performance in the Gwalior-Chambal region as BJP was on way to win 28 out of the 34 seats, it has come as big boost for Scindia. According to sources, the seats in Guna-Shivpuri-Gwalior where he campaigned or his loyalists were contesting, on 15 out of 16 seats BJP was winning.

Scindia has answered his detractors as many in the Congress ridiculed him for leaving Congress and losing support. Even in the BJP, he needed to prove that he still had a hold over the region.

In run up to the November 17 polls, Scindia had shifted his base to Gwalior as he campaigned intensively in the state addressing over six rallies in a day. He harped on the emotional connect he and his family had with the region as he engaged with the electorate. “Once an emotional connect is established with the people, I am willing to fight till last drop of my blood,” he would tell voters.
He tweaked his campaigning style to connect with the individual voters as he relied on story telling and anecdotes. He was often found holding dialogues with a voter as he picked up a beneficiary from the crowd.

In his election speeches, he gave credit to Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the work in the state and Modi at the Centre. His appeal was for Shivraj-Scindia jodi in his speeches.

With the election results, he has emerged as frontrunner to the post of the CM’s post along with the Shivraj Singh Chouhan. His stature within the state has soared as Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a private function hosted by him. President Droupadi Murmu visited his Jaivilas Palace in the recent months as had Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda.

The Madhya Pradesh elections mark the rise of Scindia as a formidable national leader from the state.

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