New Delhi | Updated: March 11, 2020 7:56:34 am
The Scindia faction in Madhya Pradesh has been in rebel mode for a while. Were you expecting Jyotiraditya’s resignation?
Never. I did not expect him to eventually resign. And I feel sad that he has done it on the day of his father’s birth anniversary. I feel particularly sad because it was I, along with Arjun Singh and Sanjay Gandhi, who had been instrumental in bringing Madhavrao Scindia to the Congress and to canvass for Indira Gandhi when his mother was firmly with the Jan Sangh. The Congress treated both the Scindia leaders with great respect and gave them both ministerial berths. So I do feel very sad. He has been one of us.
Was denial of a Rajya Sabha berth the tipping point that led to his exit from the party?
What nonsense! Who had said no to him? We were very much supporting him for a Rajya Sabha berth. There is no question about it. We were even open to appointing him the PCC president and even making him the Deputy Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh. I had spoken about this to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Dipak Babaria, who is in charge of Madhya Pradesh.
How recently was this?
About three or four months ago.
If the party was open to giving him these positions, what went wrong?
The fact is that Jyotiraditya was negotiating with the BJP since the past three months. Sources told us that he was directly in touch with Amit Shah but leaders of the party from Guna and Datia were opposing his entry. That is why he (Jyotiraditya) was not given the go-ahead to quit. The BJP leaders said that we can break the Congress in the state without Jyotiraditya and when they failed, Amit Shah stepped in himself. This is what has been going on since the past three months.
So are you ready to see the demise of the Kamal Nath government?
(Laughs) Certainly not. You will be surprised. There will be surprises when the floor test happens, maybe on March 18. That is all I can tell you at this stage. And let me tell you I admire the grit and determination that Kamal Nath has shown through all this.
Have you been in touch with Jyotiraditya these past few days?
Both Kamal Nath and I were in touch with him but then strange things began to happen. Kamal Nath reached out to him and they were supposed to meet in Delhi in the next two days. I had also spoken to him but suddenly, his phone was switched off and he stopped taking my calls. I was told he had fever and could not talk. Now my sources tell me that he is demanding that 15 of his MLAs who have quit be made ministers in Madhya Pradesh. This has been the precise sequence of events.
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