The bravado of their words is betrayed by the panicked faces. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and his sometime-mouthpiece Digvijaya Singh would like you to believe that the exit of Jyotiraditya Scindia along with 22 MLAs makes no difference to the stability of the Congress Government which, they insist, will last its full five-year term.
Really? After virtually pushing a valued colleague into the lap of the BJP, both Scindia and Singh now seem unready for the payback. Next week, as and when the MP Assembly meets, and provided the Speaker goes by the rule-book, the majority test will ensure the end of the 15-month-old Nath Government. No tears will be shed at its fall, given that Nath even as chief minister continued to burnish his image as one of the more venal Congress politicians. His bête noire, Scindia, who on Wednesday joined the BJP and is all set to be elected to the Rajya Sabha later this month, referred to the corruption that had defined the 15-month Congress rule in the State.
In all probability, more about the diversion of public funds into private pockets would come to light following the expected change of guard in Bhopal in the next few days. The Speaker of the Assembly has said he would like to personally interview each MLA who has sent his resignation from the Assembly. This is not surprising. That may be why the MLAs have taken abundant care to send their resignations to the Governor as well just in case there is the usual foot-dragging by the Speaker to accept them.
In the meantime, there are bound to be furious attempts to lure back some of the MLAs who have resigned. Reports to this effect in a section of the media dedicated to the service of the Gandhi family further affirm the attempts to sow divisions among Scindia’s supporters. In any case, numbers are so heavily stacked up against the Nath Government that only a miracle can save it. Meanwhile, the induction of Scindia in the BJP ought to be used by the party to infuse some fresh talent in the Modi Government. A relatively young and modern politician with a clean image can be an asset for the saffron party at a time when it is struggling to counter the perception that it is driven by atavistic impulses. Scindia should make a good minister handling a key portfolio. In time he may even come to fill the vacuum created by the untimely death of the pragmatic and forward-looking Arun Jaitley.
The BJP badly needs someone moderate, someone with progressive impulses to hold in check the backwoodsmen who dominate its rank and file. In sum, it will be a win-win situation: Scindia gets his due in a party his grandmother and father were once proud members of, and the BJP gets back the government in Madhya Pardesh which it had allowed to slip out of its hands fifteen months ago for want of internal clarity over the state leadership. Hopefully, a large state like Madhya Pradesh can have a stable government devoted to solve the people’s pressing problems.